Sunday, December 26, 2021

As Omicron hits global travel, domestic traffic weathers it for now

New Delhi: In a departure from the manner in which the two Covid-19 waves in India impacted travel and flights — both domestic and international segments recorded a perceptible drying up of demand during the two waves — the spread of the Omicron variant is having a varied impact on travel patterns.

Information sourced from airlines and multiple online travel agencies point to a continuing uptick in domestic air travel demand going into 2022, but there’s perceptible dampening of international travel sentiment — to and from India.

One of the main reasons for the subdued expectation on international travel is the numerous restrictions being imposed by not only India but also other jurisdictions.

“We have seen a temporary dip of around 20% (compared with the company’s expectations) in international bookings for now. Countries like the UK, France, US, Singapore are getting impacted due to the restrictions and concerns related to the new variant,” Rikant Pittie, co-founder, Easy Trip Planners, told The Sunday Express, adding that most of these travellers were not cancelling but postponing their travel plans due to concerns around the new variant.

A senior executive with a domestic low-cost airline said the reluctance was on account of experiences from previous travel bans.

“Thousands of people, especially NRIs, who came home last time around could not go back to the countries of their employment. They came to India and were stuck here because a country like Singapore or Saudi Arabia wouldn’t allow them to enter without rigorous quarantines. That is why international demand is running below what was originally expected for Christmas, New Year’s and so on,” the executive said.

Singapore, for example, announced freezing of ticket sales for flights under its programme for quarantine-free travel into the city-state from December 23 to January 20. Under this programme, Singapore allowed quarantine-free entry from some countries, including India, to fully vaccinated and tested passengers.

26/12/21  Pranav Mukul/Indian Express

To Read the News in full at Source, Click the Headline


Post a Comment