Kuoni is still hunting for a tour party which has gone missing in the wake of the 7.9 Richter scale earthquake in China which is thought to have killed up to 19,000 people.

The 19 missing people were part of a group travelling with the niche Travel Collection brand and were last known to be travelling by coach from Chengdu to Wolong in the Sichuan province on Monday when the quake struck.

The operator has been unable to contact the party as communications have gone down following the incident although it is now working closely with the British consulate to find the missing party.

Meanwhile the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is advising against all but essential travel to Sichuan while the operator is re-routing any tours from the stricken area.