Local tour operator feels the effect of coronavirus

Published: Feb. 4, 2020 at 11:10 PM AKST
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A local tour company catering to visitors speaking Mandarin said they've seen about 300 cancellations just in the past 10 days.

Jin Chen, the chief operating officer of the company, said they've been busy. Normally, the employees would be booking trips for the summer. Instead, their time is filled with taking calls from visitors unable or too afraid to travel because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"It's one thing after another," Chen said. "There was the group bans, then the massive flight cancelations and then extra border screenings."

Chen said that luckily, their local partners have worked with them through the cancellations.

"Restaurants, dog mushers, hotels, they have been so supportive," she said.

Chen said that the company's busiest time is winter. She said the bans not only affect her business but others in the travel industry as well.

"Alaska is so unique," she said. "There isn't another destination that can replace Alaska."

They will eventually book that trip and come back again. I don't think we'll be losing those visitors. It will just be a different time of the year. Or different year that they come."

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