The Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) said the hospitality and travel industry is seeing cancellations up to 80 percent in wake of the coronavirus pandemic, especially with the government suspending visas for a month, The Times of India reported.
The association has petitioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the tourism ministry seeking their intervention and creation of a corpus to bail out the ‘sinking’ industry.
It wants the Centre to ask airlines to waiving rescheduling and cancellation charges on ‘compassionate ground’ for domestic and international flyers.
Industry body Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) has estimated that first three months of the year will see a 67 percent drop in foreign tourist arrivals compared to the preceding quarter.
The report quotes Sabina Chopra, Yatra.com’s Co-Founder and COO, Corporate Travel and Head Industry Relations, as saying that the latest suspension of visas from all countries to India is expected to substantially impact foreign tourist arrivals in the country, which was already witnessing a drop due to the prevailing situation.
“We have received close to 35 percent cancellation queries from travellers planning their trip to foreign destinations,” she said, adding that airfares to affected destinations have dropped by 40 percent.
IATO and ASSOCHAM foresee job losses in Indian travel, tourism and aviation sectors as companies try to tide over the situation by removing non-essential work forces and stopping recruitment, while calling the government to review the decision to suspend visas for a month and allow inbound travel through limited gateway cities.
“The ban on travel to India for a period of one month will have a cascading economic impact and will lead to job losses in the entire hotel, aviation and travel sector. We estimate that it will lead to direct loss of not less than Rs 8,500 crore,” IATO Secretary Rajesh Mudgill told PTI.
ASSOCHAM Tourism and Hospitality Council Chairman Subhash Goyal said since the outbreak of coronavirus, the aviation and tourism industries in India have been adversely affected. “However, we were able to manage our expenses and retain staff as essential travel was going on. The suspension of visas has come as an immediate blow to the entire tourism, aviation and hospitality industry,” he said.