Coronavirus advice for businesses

Fri 7 Feb 20

A new respiratory illness, the Wuhan Novel Coronavirus, is currently restricting visits to and from China.  VisitScotland are closely monitoring the situation as it develops to ensure we are in the best position to work with the Scottish Government and other key partners to manage what is happening as effectively as possible.

Visitors in Scotland from China are likely going through a stressful and worrying time and may be looking for advice and support regarding their visit or travel home. This page will be updated on a regular basis once new information is made available so that tourism businesses can support current and future visitors with the most up to date advice.

Visitors already in Scotland

Visitors from China who are already in Scotland should contact their travel operator or the Chinese Consulate in Edinburgh (0131 337 3220) to seek advice regarding the current travel situation. Consul protection can also be reached on 020 7436 8294.

Following Foreign Office advice against all but essential travel to mainland China, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic and a number of international carriers have cancelled their flights to and from China. There are some airlines still operating to and from key gateways in China but flight availability is likely to be a challenge.

Any visitors who have travelled from Wuhan in the last 14 days should seek immediate medical attention by contacting their GP or NHS24 (dial 111). Even if they have no symptoms they should stay indoors and avoid contact with others where possible.

If someone becomes ill or would like medical advice, they should call NHS24 (111) immediately.  They should NOT go to a hospital or doctor’s surgery. They should also try to avoid contact with others where possible. Read more from the NHS.

Future visits to Scotland

Chinese authorities have ordered all their national travel agencies and online travel companies to temporarily suspend business, leisure, group travel and ‘ticket and hotel’ products effective immediately. Whilst individual travel has not been mentioned specifically, the authorities are keen to ensure that the disease is contained.

Should future visitors from China need to cancel their travel to Scotland, we advise that businesses contact the tour operator or visitors to re-schedule later in the year or agree a course of action that is agreeable to both parties.

The Chinese Government is asking travel companies, operators and tourism businesses around the world to facilitate booking changes and cancellations to help reduce the movement of crowds and reduce the spread of the virus. At the moment, the Chinese Government is not offering any compensation to cancelled groups.

Where possible, we would encourage businesses to be as flexible as possible with future booking arrangements so that visitors can enjoy a visit to Scotland at a later date.

Our communications to visitors and the trade

We are keeping potential visitors from China up to date with the latest on the situation via one of China’s biggest social media platforms – Weibo (Chinese version of Twitter). This platform is being updated with regular messages of advice and support as the situation evolves, the first of which have already been viewed by over 33,000 people and been shared by the Global Travel Weekly.

We've offered support to our Chinese friends through our Weibo account, giving updates and practical information to support travellers. These have been well received, with positive comments including one which reads ‘‘I am going to visit Scotland, because of your post’.

We’re also liaising very closely with our travel trade partners in China to keep them abreast of the situation and to share information regarding cancellations, and the conditions of these where we have information from Scottish suppliers. If you work with the Chinese travel trade and have any special cancellation policies in place please email details to [email protected] and we will communicate these with our contacts.

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Latest travel update on www.scotland.cn/visit/travelhealth 

Other resources

If you have any other feedback or information regarding this page or the Conorovirus situation please send this to [email protected].   

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