Britain's train companies offer fee-free refunds to Chinese tourists unable to travel due to Coronavirus

Train companies across Great Britain are offering fee-free refunds for rail tickets purchased in China, following the outbreak of Coronavirus which will prevent tourists visiting the country.

China is one of the UK’s top 10 most valuable inbound visitor markets and Chinese visitors spent £657 million in 2018 during their trips in the UK. However, many tourists from China will no longer be able to make planned trips to the UK following the suspension of flights to and from mainland China as part of measures to stop the potential spread of the virus. This means many rail tickets will go unused.

Train operators and independent ticket retailers plan to waive the usual administration fee of up to £10 for people that need a refund. Fee-free refunds will apply to unused tickets for UK rail journeys between 22 January and 29 February, if the ticket was purchased from China before 24 January.

Passengers can claim a fee-free refund by contacting the company that they bought their ticket from.

Robert Nisbet, Director of Nations and Regions at the Rail Delivery Group, said:

“We hope that providing a free refund to Chinese tourists will ease some of their worry in this situation and help them with future plans to visit Britain. Together, Britain’s rail companies are committed to supporting tourism and connecting people to our cities and towns.”

VisitBritain Director Patricia Yates said:

“Chinese tourists affected by the Coronavirus will be very disappointed that they cannot go through with their travel plans and it’s great to see train companies are working together to help them out.”

Alistair Lees, Chair of the Third Party Rail Retailers Association, said:

“Independent rail ticket retailers are pleased to support this initiative by the rail industry to help visitors from China obtain fee-free refunds so that they are not financially affected and can plan future trips to Britain.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

  • Companies offering fee-free refunds include all GB train operators and the independent ticket retailers Assertis, Atomised, Click Travel, Evolvi, On Track Retail, Raileasy, SilverRail, Trainline and Trip.com. The Business Travel Association has also recommended travel agents support this initiative.
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