Tuesday, March 03, 2020

Outbound travel business falls by a third amid coronavirus fears

Mumbai|New Delhi: Airlines and travel companies operating in India are seeing at least a third of their outbound travel business wiped out as Covid-19 spreads.
 Forward bookings for the upcoming busy summer season are down at least 20% year on year, senior executives at airlines and travel companies said. The Indian government also cancelled all visas issued to Iraninan nationals and all foreigners who visted Iran after February 1 this year.
 “It is a catastrophe,” said a senior executive of a foreign carrier operating in India. Local and foreign carriers in the country have already seen 50-60% dip in loads on their flights to popular southeast Asian destinations such as Bangkok and Singapore.
 “International bookings for summer season are muted,” said Manoj Samuel, executive director, Riya Travel and Tours, one of the largest offline travel companies that sells up to 20,000 international air tickets daily.
“This will get worse.” Riya Travel has seen a 25% drop in sales. “Southeast Asia is completely gone,” Samuel said. “We are seeing cancellation of flights to the Middle East, especially after Saudi Arabia’s temporary ban on Umrah pilgrims. Europe is affected too.” “The summer vacation traffic for international travel is gone,” said an executive at a low fare carrier.
“All airlines are monitoring the situation daily and taking calls on cutting operations.”
 03/03/20 Anirban CHowdhury/Mihir Mishra/Economic Times
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