New Delhi: The current bout of unease among people due to the Centre’s move of demonetisation of currency has severely impacted the hotel, travel and tourism industry in the city with travellers cancelling or shelving their travel plans.
According to the industry insiders, a staggering fall of 80 per cent drop in domestic bookings and around 30 per cent fall in international bookings has brought the travel and tourism and hospitality industry to a grinding halt.
With the onset of December, lakhs of travellers, including families, honeymoon couples, students, and working professionals head for weekend getaways. But that has changed this year, with people going cashless and queuing up in front of ATMs and banks rather than at airports.
According to travel agents, tourism partners, hospitality industry, and online travel portals like MakeMyTrip and Goibibo, the industry has seen a steep fall in the bookings and ticketing this winter due to demonetisation. While the office of offline travel agents received a major hit, the online travel agencies were seen busy cancelling or rescheduling the bookings.
Speaking to this newspaper, Abhishek Kaushik of MakeMyTrip.co, an online travel portal, said: “People who had booked their tickets in advance are now calling us for cancellation or to reschedule. The domestic sector is severely hit as there is almost 50 per cent drop in the bookings as compared to the previous year. If in a day we had 100 bookings, 50 per cent of those customers have stalled their plans asking for a refund.”
Mr Kaushik further told this newspaper that though nothing much has changed when it came to travelling to metropolitan cities, as plastic money is being accepted across the cities, the brunt of demonetisation was borne by destinations like Goa, Andman, and Kerala. These destinations saw the maximum number of cancellations as these cities majorly deal in cash.
However, it was the offline agents who faced the heat of demonetisation this winter with a maximum of 7 to 10 bookings as against 90 to 130 of last November. According to Kunal, who works with Holiday Knock Travel Services based in Shakarpur, business has taken a major hit. “We are sitting idle and have almost no business. There is heavy cancellation in both domestic and international bookings,” he said.
According to the hospitality industry insiders, while the major players who have a chain of hotels like ITC Maurya and Raddisson Blu, are not much affected, the small time operators like Oyo Rooms, Stayzilla and others have seen a dip in the business.