Crashed MH370 Halts Travel Bookings to Malaysia

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By Athena Yenko | March 25, 2014 1:28 PM EST

Aussies searching for hotel accommodations in Malaysia dropped by 18 per cent in the wake of the missing MH370 incident, trivago.com.au observed.

Statistics derived by the booking Web site show that the searches for Malaysia hotels remained in status quo at least 10 days before the mystery of the MH370 happened. In particular, searches for Kuala Lumpur dropped a quarter within the two that the plane was missing.

Trivago, which pride itself as the world's largest hotel search, obtained data from 200 other booking sites including Expedia, booking.com, hotels.com and Agoda.

In 2012-2013, Malaysia was among the top favourite travel destinations for the Aussies with more than 500,000 Aussies visiting the country each year.

Malaysia was, in fact, in the midst of a tourist campaign "Visit Malaysia Year," aiming to invite 620,000 Aussie tourists for 2014.

A separate report from News.com.au said that shares of Malaysian Airlines System plummeted by 20 per cent days following the reports of the missing MH370. The decrease followed the already downward run of the company's shares in the span of 10 years.

An affiliate of the booking site Beijing Youth Travel Service said that bookings to Malaysia dropped to 20 per cent as compared to bookings during the same time of year for bthe previous years.

 "In the (first three days after the incident), about 20 or 30 clients in our single outlet have already cancelled their bookings with Malaysia Airlines simply because they thought it's not safe," a spokesman for Beijing Youth Travel Service said.

Meanwhile, Tourist Malaysia told USA Today that it is not expecting a decrease in number of foreign travellers.

"I don't expect a drop in arrivals as there are other airlines people can come on to Malaysia," the deputy director of domestic marketing at Tourism Malaysia, Tuan Razali Tuan Omar, said.

This was supported by Flight Centre spokesman Haydn Long, saying there is no alarming decreased in bookings.

 "This is a unique situation and it is still early days, but we haven't seen any noticeable shifts," he said. I think at this stage, people are more concerned about learning what happened, rather than avoiding Malaysia or Malaysia Airlines, a carrier that has a very good reputation. Overall ticket numbers have been solid and Malaysia Airlines bookings have been maintained," Mr Long said.

The same was observed by Jetstar spokesman Michael Scott saying there was no signs showing that Aussies were already avoiding traveling to Malaysia.

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