Friday, December 24, 2021

No hit yet on year-end travel plans, but firms keep fingers crossed

The travel and tourism industry is cautiously watching the unfolding developments linked to rising Omicron cases in India and around the world play out even as most of the domestic travelers seem to be going ahead with their year end plans for now.

The impact on future flights and hotel bookings due to new state centric curbs and restrictions and a potential uptick in cases cannot be ruled out, said industry executives. Bookings are down by up to 18% on days there is news around increase in cases due to Omicron, said an airline executive who did not wish to be identified. “Bookings are fluctuating a lot and are down by 14-18% compared to the highs recorded recently… The decline in bookings is even more on bad news days,” he added.

In an emailed response, IndiGo said as of now, the impact of Omicron on both its current loads as well as on future bookings appears to be 'modest.' Puneet Dhawan, senior vice president, operations at Accor India and South Asia said so far, the chain's hotels have seen a 'muted' response to the new variant and leisure bookings were continuing. “People seem to be of the opinion that it is milder than the earlier variants. Unless it takes a complete U turn and becomes violent like the previous Delta variant...,” Dhawan said.

Industry insiders do say that Indians abroad, who come to India during the year-end to meet friends and family are canceling their plans. Indians considering traveling overseas might hold off their plans too. A spokesperson at MakeMyTrip said in light of the evolving situation, it does foresee travelers postponing their international travel plans. "With fresh restrictions being announced for Indian nationals traveling to Singapore and Thailand, there has been an increase in queries from travelers,” the spokesperson said.

24/12/21 Anumeha Chaturvedi/Economic Times

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