Published on Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Royal Caribbean drops ban on Chinese passport holders

Royal Caribbean has dropped a controversial ban on people with Chinese, Kong Kong or Macau passports that was introduced last week in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

It said the ban had been put into place as governments around the world restricted travel for Chinese, Hong Kong and Macau passport holders.

"As a result, we added a similar policy to avoid disruption to impacted guests' travels. Now, governmental policies have been clarified, so we have changed this policy," it said today.

"We're happy to share that effective immediately, passport holders from China, Hong Kong, & Macau will be able to sail with us."

But Norwegian Cruise Line is continuing to implement the ban, which doesn't take into account the residency of the guest or how recently they visited China.

Both cruise giants had introduced the bans after some ports denied entry to Chinese passport holders.

Such bans go against recommendations by the World Health Organisation.

Meanwhile the London-based World Travel & Tourism Council is warning against disproportionate reactions which could result in stigma and discrimination against Chinese and Asian tourists.

Gloria Guevara, WTTC President & CEO, said: "We must not stigmatise. The coronavirus will not be solved by singling out individuals or groups from any country, such as China or those in other parts of Asia.

"While some of this misguided action may be well-meaning and it is clearly important the travel and tourism sector plays its part to contain the spread of the coronavirus, this will not be achieved by alienating the world's biggest tourist group.

"China has become a key global player and its tourism market has experienced massive growth in recent years. Chinese tourists, travelling both individually and within groups account for 16% of the world's international travel spending. More widely, Asia has experienced nearly 7% booming average annual growth in the sector over the last decade.

"There is no doubt that travel and tourism to and from China brings huge cultural and economic benefits to the world. At WTTC we believe the sector is a force for good and unites people no matter where they are from."

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