Thursday, March 12, 2020

Coronavirus cripples tourism sector; airlines, hotels worst hit

New Delhi: It's literally mayhem for the tourism, hotels and aviation sectors after the international body World Health Organization (WHO) declared the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) a global pandemic on Wednesday. On the same day, the high-level group of ministers (GoM) in India issued a revised travel advisory that suspended all existing visas till April 15, 2020. The two big developments have resulted in mass-scale cancellations of travel bookings, including air travel and hotel accommodations.
As per some estimates, almost 40-50 per cent of the domestic hotel bookings have been cancelled in the past two days, and hotel fares have tanked nearly 18 per cent in the past one week. The fall in room rates is higher in leisure destinations such as Udaipur, Goa and Kerala where a lot of luxury properties have been hit due to the low numbers of foreign tourist arrivals amidst coronavirus outbreak.
The situation is even worse in the aviation sector where fares have crashed as much as 40 per cent in the past week on a lot of routes. For instance, a Delhi-to-Chennai flight ticket which would usually sell at above Rs 5,000 in the 0-15 day booking window can now be bought at Rs 2,797. As per OTA (online travel aggregator) Yatra, around 12 per cent domestic airline capacity has gone down recently due to temporary suspension of services to certain cities in China, Italy and South Korea in view of coronavirus outbreak.
12/03/20  Manu Kaushik/Business Today
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