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The coronavirus outbreak sees up to 14,000 high-spending Chinese cancel Costa trips

Chinese travellers at Malaga Airport's arrival area last week after the crisis started.
Chinese travellers at Malaga Airport's arrival area last week after the crisis started. / Ñito Salas
  • Malaga Airport is the main entry point to Andalucía for Asian passengers and some 150 groups from China were due in January and February

The alarm raised over the spread of the coronavirus by the World Health Organization has also caused concern among the tourism sector on the Costa del Sol as airlines stop flying to Europe from China.

The head of the Andalusian travel agents' association, Sergio García, said earlier this week that the coronavirus outbreak will have seen between 12,000 and 14,000 Chinese tourists cancel trips during January and February. Some 150 group arrivals were planned over the first two months of the year.

These cancellations are particularly important for the area as Chinese customers are higher than average spenders on accommodation and services.

"We're particularly worried as we don't know how long this will go on for," explained García. He also added that travel agents are feeling the reverse effect with Spaniards not going to China on holiday either. "Today I've cancelled three tickets to Shanghai, a trip that it a significant amount [of income] and not easy to sell."

Malaga Airport is the main point of entry for travellers from all of Asia to Andalucía, with up to two fights a day from Turkish Airlines' hub in Istanbul. That company has stopped flying to Chinese cities until at least 9 February.

Other airlines with connections to Malaga have also suspended flights to China.