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September 25, 2017

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Travelers cutting Malaysia out of their vacation plans

China Daily/Asia News Network--One of China's largest tour operators has suspended cooperation with Malaysia Airlines and said it will cancel existing flight arrangements with the carrier.

"Considering the fact that a succession of accidents have involved Malaysia Airlines recently, and that Chinese tourists have concerns over the carrier's safety record, we must fulfill our responsibility of ensuring the security of our fellow citizens," Beijing-based China Youth Travel Service said in a statement on Wednesday.

New bookings will be suspended and existing itineraries that include Malaysia Airlines will be changed to other carriers, it said.

The agency also promised full refunds to consumers who want to cancel trips that would have used the Malaysian carrier.

The MH370 incident has cast a giant shadow over the Chinese public's sentiment about travel to Malaysia, with nearly 80 percent of respondents in an online poll saying they will not go to the Southeast Asian nation in the near future.

The poll, which was conducted by Sina.com, one of China's most popular news portals, surveyed nearly 60,000 Internet users by late Wednesday. Only 18 percent of respondents said they would not exclude Malaysia when choosing destinations.

Eleven Chinese travel agents told Reuters that bookings between China and Malaysia had fallen sharply and that many people have canceled trips already booked.

Malaysia was among the top 10 overseas destinations for Chinese tourists in the past several years. In 2013, nearly 1.8 million people from China traveled to the Southeast Asian nation — a 14.9-percent increase from 2012.

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