Top executives with Trip.com, China’s leading online travel service, will accept no salaries starting from this month as the company copes with the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, its CEO has told employees.
CEO Jane Sun said in an internal letter circulated on Monday that she and chairman James Liang will forego compensation and other senior managers will voluntarily accept steep pay cuts of as much as one-half "until the situation improves".
The memo was shared with an AFP reporter by a Trip.com spokesperson.
Planned merit increases for "front-line service staff" will go ahead but those for other employees will be temporarily suspended.
The spokesperson said compensation figures for senior management were not available.
"In China, outbreak prevention efforts have led to a stable situation, with things already beginning to return to normal. Globally, however, the extent of its impact remains to be seen,” Sun said in the memo.
Travel sector hit hard
The coronavirus has devastated the travel sector, with major airlines slashing routes around the globe and a range of countries imposing restrictions on arrivals from China and other hard-hit areas.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said the outbreak could cost the global travel industry up to $113 billion in lost revenue in 2020.
Share prices of major airlines have tumbled since the contagion first emerged in China in December and began rippling across the world in recent weeks.
Nasdaq-listed shares of Trip.com – which last year changed its name from Ctrip – have fallen 30% since late January as the crisis mounted, plummeting 9% on Monday alone as global markets swooned, closing at $26.90.
Trip.com had planned to release fourth-quarter earnings in late February, but postponed that to March 18 due to "the evolving situation brought on by the coronavirus."
Trip.com has gained on other global industry leaders like Expedia and Booking.com thanks in part to surging travel by Chinese consumers.