Muslim terror sends Mumbai, Goan tourism reeling
Posted by jagoindia on December 4, 2008
Terror hits tourism, 40 per cent booking cancelled
Sonal Joshi & Raksha Shetty / CNN-IBN
Dec 01, 2008
Mumbai: Mumbai is just waking up after the nightmare. The images beamed across the world by news networks have shaken many who were planning to visit the country.
According to Industry sources, over 40 per cent of the holidaymakers have cancelled their bookings. People are also planning to fly less. Bookings to holiday destinations like Goa are down by over 60 per cent.
‘‘The impact has been tremendous and absolutely phenomenal in the negative flipside” says MD, Travel Agents Assn of India, Rajinder Rai.
After Britain, US, France, Singapore and Australia advised their citizens against travelling to Mumbai, hotels are seeing a 20-25 per cent increase in cancellations..
‘‘On the tourism front we had close to 40 per cent cancellation and on corporate front its about 15 per cent cancellations,” MD, India & Middle East, FCM Travel Solutions, Rahul Nath.
Every year it’s between November and Feberuary that India sees a maximum amount of tourist traffic, this year however cancellation have already begun
The immediate short term impact of this terror attack is likely to last for a month but its the long term loss that the industry is worried about top tourist destinations like Agra, Jaipur, Goa and Kerala could also suffer.
Mumbai terror strikes take a toll on Goa tourism sector
Panaji, Nov. 29
Already facing the rigours of economic meltdown worldwide, Goan hospitality and travel-tour operators have hit the panic button with cancellations from foreign tourists already trickling down following adverse travel advisories from different countries to their citizens against travel to India post Mumbai terror strikes.
To add to their woes, Goan hotels and tour operators on Friday found themselves confronted with the revival of a domestic problem with around 1,000 taxi operators across the State resorting to intimidation to tourists outside different hotels and tour operator premises.
The taxi operators have gone on strike complaining about lack of fair share of business and blame tour operators and star hotels for the same.
Members of Travel and Tourism Association of Goa, body representing hotels and tour operators, led by its President, Mr Ralph de Souza, blamed the State’s law and order agencies of failing to provide any protection to tourists from the intimidation and threats from taxi operators.
“When the foreign tourists are already facing uncertainty owing to the terror strikes in Mumbai, it is most deplorable that the tourist operators are trying to kill the golden goose by their action, the image of Goa is taking a beating” said Mr de Souza at a press conference on Friday where members of the industry narrated the problems faced by them throughout the day when tourists wherein their coaches were stopped, tourists inconvenienced while trying to reach the airport, etc.
On the after effect of the Mumbai terror strike, Mr. de Souza said while latest adverse travel advisories from US, Australia, France and UK had increased the flow of anxious inquiries from tourists from these countries and a few cancellations that followed, what had shocked them more was 12 cancellations received by tour operators by Friday from Russians.
“There is apprehension, the number might increase,” said Mr de Souza. He explained that adverse travel advisories hit the tourism in two-ways, namely, it results in full refund on cancellation and secondly the possibility of increase in insurance premium makes travel costly for the tourist.
While so far no charter flight has been cancelled, the industry is apprehensive about the number of tourists that would arrive in charter flights in the present scenario.
Goa annually gets over 700 chartered flights, mostly from European countries. The beach destination, which gets repeat tourists primarily from UK, gets around 50 per cent of its around 3.5 lakh foreign arrivals through charters.
Mr Earnest Dias of SITA Travels and Vice-President of TTAG, said the FIT(free of itinerary travel) segment of foreign tourist is virtually set to be doomed because the travel advisories.
What seems to be worrying the Goan tourism industry is the near certain decline it could face during the prime tourist season, the Christmas and New year celebrations when Goan tourism is traditionally at its peak.
While Goan hoteliers had seen reason and in the midst of the season had resorted to correction of room tariffs by offering special offers by reducing tariffs ranging to 20-25 per cent post the latest World Travel marts in different countries, the latest terrorist crisis seems to have negated the effect of the same.
Mr Deepak Bhatnagar, Vice-President of le passage to India, a tour operator group, told, “The Goan industry had realised its folly that high pricing could invite doom in the midst of worldwide recession and the idea of special offers was intended to stimulate demand. And yes, it had indeed got results. But now it looks like the Christmas and New year celebrations could come a cropper if adverse travel advisories continue.”
Admitting the serious problem of cancellations of bookings by foreigners after Mumbai terror strike, the Managing Director of Cidade de Goa, a prominent five star resort in north Goa, said “the tourism industry in Goa would have to tighten its belt to sustain and remain in business in days to come. Difficult days are ahead.”
The industry has already taken measures to up its security arrangements in hotels and other tourism-related establishments and has been fully cooperating with the police and other agencies in terms of sensitising various stake-holders of tourism to the terror threat, said Mr de Souza.