9,580.3090.2
Stock Analysis, IPO, Mutual Funds, Bonds & More

Tourism sector comes to a standstill as quarantine fears loom

With India temporarily suspending visas to people from China and those who visited China due to coronavirus outbreak, restrictions on travellers from several other affected countries, and fresh cases emerging in Europe and the US, leisure and business travel, both incoming and outgoing, has taken a hit.

Last Updated: Mar 03, 2020, 09.48 AM IST
0Comments
airport-corona-bccl
Coronavirus

COVID-19 CASES

Confirmed
165,799
Deaths
4,706
New Delhi | Mumbai: The coronavirus outbreak that has spread to all continents barring Antarctica has brought the travel and tourism sector to a standstill, industry professionals said.

"There is a global scare. It is not just about India. People are not wanting to step out anywhere," said a tourism ministry official familiar with the developments, adding: “If the entire economy is getting impacted, tourism would get hit too.”

On Monday, India announced two new positive cases of the Covid-19 infection, one patient in New Delhi with a travel history to Italy and the other in Telangana who has returned from Dubai.

With India temporarily suspending visas to people from China and foreigners who had visited China, restrictions on travellers from several other affected countries, and fresh cases emerging in Europe and the US, leisure and business travel, both incoming and outgoing, has taken a hit.

People are wary of long quarantine periods if they have travelled to the majorly affected countries or get infected by the fast-spreading virus.

"Travel on the whole will be at a standstill for some time. The Indian government has suspended visas for certain countries and we are facing tough times as hotels and luxury trains are not willing to give refunds to these travellers. The country's image should be more important than earning money," said Pranab Sarkar, the president of the Indian Association of Tour Operators.

Rajeev Kale, the president and country head (Holidays, MICE, Visa) at Thomas Cook (India), said his company was monitoring the situation with health authorities, tourism boards, airlines and hotels. “In such situations, it is vital that we take decisions basis sound expert advice. This is in the best interest of our customers and the industry at large.”

Specific attractions globally have been hit, like the cherry blossom season in Japan (March-April). “We had a few enquiries from customers who were planning visits to Japan for the cherry blossom season. But after the cruise liner incident of Japan, the same set got back saying they’ll look at it next year,” said Subhash Motwani, the founder of Namaste Tourism.

“It’s MICE (meetings, events and incentive travel) that is most affected. Imagine a situation where a large group from the same company travels to a location and gets stuck. Work can grind to a halt back home," Motwani added.

The Wall Street Journal in a report last month cited a sales conference in Singapore attended by 109 people, which led to a spreading of the coronavirus to other parts of the world, like France and the UK, through the attendees.

In its India Hospitality Industry Overview 2019 report released last week, consultancy firm HVS stated it expected the first half of the year to be relatively muted in India, led by the coronavirus impact on global markets and the ongoing economic headwinds. In a response to ET's queries, a spokesperson at Indian Hotels Company, which runs the Taj group of hotels, said it could not currently comment on the possible impact of the coronavirus on its operations, as it was awaiting the necessary data.

"We will, of course, continue to monitor the spread of the coronavirus, as well as its impact on the hospitality space," the spokesperson added.

Carriers like Etihad Airways said flight cancellations and initiatives by governments to limit the entry of some passengers to certain countries were disrupting travel plans. Singapore Airlines authorities said the group’s passenger traffic and load factors had rapidly declined in all markets since news for the virus first emerged.

As per a CII report released last month on the coronavirus outbreak in China and its impact on India, Indian tour operators are projected to incur significant losses because of cancellations from China and other countries. Outbound tourists from India are also cutting back on travel.

(With inputs from Masoom Gupte)
(Catch all the Business News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on The Economic Times.)

Also Read

Credit in quarantine, distributors deal in cash

Sadananda Gowda’s travel triggers quarantine question

Home quarantine of mild cases on the cards

Quarantine norms for inter-state travellers to Karnataka revised

572 Indians stranded abroad land in Mumbai, quarantined

Comments
Add Your Comments
Commenting feature is disabled in your country/region.

Other useful Links


Copyright © 2020 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service