Travel Bookings Take A Hit Due To Coronavirus Outbreak
Medical workers wearing protective masks gather during a protest outside the Hospital Authority’s head office in Hong Kong, China. (Photographer: Paul Yeung/Bloomberg)  

Travel Bookings Take A Hit Due To Coronavirus Outbreak

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Restrictions on travel between China and India due to the outbreak of deadly coronavirus in China has impacted the bookings and the industry is cautiously watching the situation, travel and hospitality services providers said on Tuesday.

India on Sunday announced temporary suspension of e-visa facility for Chinese travellers and foreigners residing in the neighbouring country and issued a fresh advisory saying anyone with travel history to China since Jan. 15 can be quarantined.

"With travel to mainland China and even Hong Kong severely restricted for days, the travel bookings had taken a massive hit," MakeMyTrip Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Rajesh Magow said.

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Now, with the Indian government banning all India-bound airlines from boarding any passengers from China and cancelling valid visas to Chinese or foreigners who have visited China in the last two weeks, it is going to bring almost a complete halt to travel between the two countries, he added.

Over the past few years, the air travel between India and China had grown significantly owing to increased business activities. "We are going to see business travel segment take a hit because of the travel restrictions put in place as a result of the disease outbreak," Magow said.

Also read: Coronavirus Doesn’t Show Much Mutation So Far, WHO Official Says

MakeMyTrip is monitoring the situation closely along with the entire travel industry and is hoping that the steps taken to contain the spread of the disease will help put a lid on the situation soon, he added.

“We are closely monitoring developments and are in close coordination with health and government representatives, as also our airline and on-ground partners globally. This is to enable us to best guide and assist our customers.”

Thomas Cook India Managing Director Madhavan Menon

In such situations, it is vital that "we take decisions basis sound expert advice and this is in the best interest of our customers and the industry at large," he added. On the other hand, the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India said that so far, there has not been any impact on the tourism sector. However, these are early days and "we are constantly monitoring the situation."

Also read: Despite Global Fears, Coronavirus Concentrated in China’s Hubei

Currently, only a couple of provinces in China have been cordoned off and they are not the cities that drive massive traffic to India, FHRAI Joint Honorary Secretary Pradeep Shetty said. "Having said that everyone in the travel industry is still trying to assess the gravity of the situation and is being overcautious. This may result in lesser tourist traffic both locally as well as internationally. So, this could result in some hit in revenues to the hospitality and tourism sector," he added.

"We are hoping the worst is over and things will bounce back to normal by the end of the month," Shetty said. India reported a third novel coronavirus case on Monday with another Keralite student from Wuhan University in China testing positive for the infection. The Kerala government has declared coronavirus outbreak as a 'state calamity'.

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