Just as peak summer season was gearing up, Koreatown travel agent Chris Chang began receiving dozens of calls from travelers concerned about an outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome in South Korea.
MERS, a severe, flu-like illness, was diagnosed in a patient in Seoul last month and has since spread to 138 people and killed 14.
Chang, manager at Hana Tour USA, said the company is still operating its South Korea tours on schedule, but he gives nervous customers the option to cancel. He estimated that 20% to 30% had canceled flights and tours because they feared contracting MERS.
"It's their choice. It has to do with safety, so we're not going to tell them...