Published on : Tuesday, March 17, 2020
With India imposing ban on visas for foreign tourists for curbing the spread of corona virus, the tourism and civil aviation industries are expected to be impacted heavily. All tourist visas have been suspended till April 15.
Travelers, including Indian nationals, arriving from or having visited China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, France, Spain and Germany after February 15 this year will be quarantined for a minimum of 14 days.
India has also suspended the land border crossing points with Pakistan for an indefinite period and closed 18 of 37 border crossing points with other neighboring countries.
India caters to around 10 million foreign tourists a year. Pronab Sarkar, the president of the Indian Association of Tour Operators, said that the losses this year will be around US$3 billion. Tourists who had booked previously to visit India next month have been forced to cancel their plans.
States relying heavily on tourism revenue like Rajasthan and Kerala are going to be badly affected due to cancelled hotel bookings and tours. In Rajasthan, four out of 10 people earn their livelihood directly or indirectly via tourism, said Rachna Singh, the CEO of the Federation of Hospitality and Tourism of Rajasthan.
In Kerala, known for its famed backwaters, the hotel occupancy has reduced significantly. The first cases of corona virus reported in the country were in Kerala and thus, the state witnessed a decline in hotel occupancy rates. Hotel rates across India have dropped by about 18% amid a flood of cancellation requests.
Virus scare has also affected Indians going abroad for business or holiday purposes. Tour operators have said that 50% of planned tours were cancelled this month and the number of advance bookings for the summer vacations is low.
The Indian aviation industry, which was already affected by the travel advisory to corona virus-hit countries, is likely to further witness a downtime, in spite of a fall in aviation fuel prices. India’s leading domestic airline IndiGo claimed that bookings have went down by 15-20% in the last few weeks.
National carrier Air India operating several long-haul international flights has suspended flights to Rome, Milan and Seoul following the government travel advisory.