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Key Highlights

  • International travellers jittery due to Omicron scare
  • Inbound and outbound travellers concerned about quarantine rules
  • 40-50% of business travellers going abroad have deferred their trips say tour operators

The Omicron scare has once again put a dampener on the revival of travel and hospitality industry, especially the international travel. Industry players say that they have been getting increasing number of inquiries on cancellation policies. More than domestic, international travelers are jittery and are concerned about the quarantine rules.

“Around 40-50% of business travelers who were scheduled to travel abroad during this time have deferred their trips and are unlikely to take trips at least till New year,” said Rajiv Mehra, president of Indian Association of Tour Operators.

The government of India mandated new travel rules from Dec 1 for international travelers which include that all international passengers must submit 14 days’ travel history and upload negative COVID test results on the Air Suvidha portal.

Similarly, online travel company, EaseMyTrip said it has been getting enquiries from customers on what are the quarantine rules, whether they will get refunds if flights are cancelled or postponed.

People have also been asking about RT-PCR tests protocols, which is an added cost for them, the company said.

While the company says it hasnt received any major cancellations on prior bookings yet, people are in wait and watch mode on the developing situation.

Meanwhile, the hospitality industry laments that Omicron has brought uncertainty back on the table. Pradeep Shetty, joint secretary of Federation of Hotels and Restaurants Association of India says the industry had been on revival track with festive season and holidays season, but such events play a dampener.

He said that while resorts have so far recovered 70-80% of pre-COVID levels, but city hotels have seen only 30-40% recovery so far because of lack of international travel. It remains to be seen where the industry goes from here.

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