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Asian airlines fall on fear Paris attacks will curb tourism

A China Eastern Airlines Corp. airplane is parked on the tarmac at Hongqiao International Airport in Shanghai, China, on Saturday, May 12, 2012.

[HONG KONG] Shares of airline operators across Asia tumbled on worries that the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris will deter tourists from traveling to the French capital.

Eva Airways Corp of Taiwan was down 7.8 per cent at TW$17.05 as of 9.51am local time, while China Southern Airlines Co dropped 4.8 per cent in Hong Kong to HK$5.78. China Eastern Airlines Corp and Hainan Airlines Co fell a much as 4.7 per cent and 3.1 per cent, respectively, while Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd was down 2 per cent.

"There will definitely be a negative psychological impact in the short term in tourism-related sectors. Airlines are particularly affected," said Zhang Qi, a Shanghai-based analyst with Haitong Securities Co. The situation in France is "still quite uncertain now, so investors seem to be broadly risk-off today."

The negative impact on China-to-France tourism will last as long as a year, with many tourists likely to cancel or change trips to France and Europe generally, China International Capital Corp Ltd said in a note.

Hana Tour Service Inc, South Korea's biggest travel agent, said it has been receiving plenty of inquiries from customers but didn't see cancellations over the weekend.

Some clients have had to change their itineraries in Paris as museums and other tourist attractions have either been closed or had limited access, the agency said.