Some Hongkongers on holiday in Japan have had their itineraries changed because of a blizzard raging across much of the country.
The chairman of WWPKG Holdings, Yuen Chun-ning, on Thursday said the travel agency has around 1,300 people on tours in Japan and all of them have been affected to one extent or another by the weather.
He said the worst problem happened two days ago.
“We had 60 passengers arriving in Kansai airport at around 5pm. They were planning to go to different hot spring areas, but they realised that the connecting bridge to the airport was closed due to strong wind,” he said.
“They had to wait at the airport for around six hours, until finally the train – not the highway – reopened. They had to take the train to a nearby train station in Osaka, and then we deployed another bus to pick them up – not off to the hot spring region as planned, but back to the city. Ultimately they arrived in a city hotel at around 2am,” said Yuen.
He said about 20 to 30 percent of the 50 or so tour groups had to have their itineraries changed because highways or destinations were closed, but fortunately none of the groups were stranded at the airport or stuck on the roads.
He said tourists do not get any compensation for bad weather, but the agency would refund them for any cancelled trips or accommodation issues.
Meanwhile, Steve Huen, executive director of EGL Tours – another travel agency specialising in tours to Japan – said the firm has about 3,000 Hongkongers on packages in Japan.
He said due to traffic accidents some have had to travel on city roads rather than highways and a journey that would normally take 30 minutes has taken some people five hours.