Swine flu likely to impact leisure travel

Swine flu likely to impact leisure travel

New Delhi: As the peak tourist season nears, people from abroad in large numbers are reported to be cancelling visits to India on account of swine flu, while hotels, worried about a prospective drop in occupancy, are taking steps to sanitise their premises.

“We have seen a cancellation of 10-15% in the inbound tourists segment. Besides, in the short term, domestic tourism will be affected in states like Maharashtra where incidents of flu have been reported," Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) president Rajji Rai said.

He said that leisure tourism is likely to affected more, while business travel is likely to remain normal.

“However, we have not seen any cancellations in outbound travel from Indian tourists. And nor have we received any advisory from the government or the ministries," Rai said.

Hotel chains are geared up to deal with any situation, although occupancy rates have not seen a decline so far.

“We have taken precautionary measures and have doctors on call. We are taking precautions for our staff and for our guests ... we are also keeping a watch on our guests to check for any such symptoms," a spokesperson of The Lalit Hotels said.

The hotel group has seen no cancellation in room bookings.

“There has not been any noticeable change in trends right now because of it (swine flu). In terms of our business, we cannot comment much right now,“ the spokesperson of Lalit Hotels said.

Hospitality chain Phoenix Group has also taken steps to tackle the problem.

“Our hotel staff are undergoing regular check-ups and we have in-house doctors for the guests," Phoenix Group director (PR and communication) Preeti Chand said.

She added that the flu might impact room occupancy in the short term.

“The peak season starts from September-October. Last year, the Mumbai terror attacks spoiled the mood and this time it is swine flu. However, so far we have not seen any cancellations or decline in room occupancy," Chand said.

Premium segment chain Leela Group said that there has not been any effect on its business so far.

“However, we have taken precautionary measures including having our in-house team of medical specialists. The main tourists season, specially of inbound travellers, starts from October and we hope the situation will improve by then," Leela Venture Ltd vice-chairman Vivek Nair said.