Coronavirus scare hits city tourism
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Coronavirus scare hits city tourism

March 8, 2020

Mysore/Mysuru: March-April is a peak time for Indians and foreigners to make travel plans. It is Spring in the northern hemisphere with a pleasant weather in many countries. In a few days, exams will also be over and schools will break for holidays. For the travel and tourism industry, the coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak couldn’t have come at a worse time.

People are cancelling their pre-booked tickets and postponing their plans. With the numbers of deaths and infections climbing in many countries. Some tour operators say that the only thing that is travelling right now is the virus itself.

Star of Mysore spoke to a few people from the travel industry in city including Bharat International Travels, Travel Parkz, Skyway, Segue Travel and Tours, Safe Wheels Tours and Travels, Travel Mart and Travel Next Care to know about the impact of coronavirus outbreak on travel plans and their business. And they say that it is not just a scare, but real, where the tourism industry is hit hard. Tour operators say that both domestic (inter-city and inter-state) and international tourists have cancelled their trips. “Tourism industry in Mysuru has been hit badly as COVID-19 has affected industry travel, yoga travel and tours to pilgrimage centres. 

“A lot of people have backed out and cancelled their plans due to coronavirus. People are even afraid to visit the places that are not affected. They are scared that the virus is everywhere, so, they are postponing their travel plans,” said B.S. Prashanth of Safe Wheels. 

In Mysuru, there are over 750 tourist vehicles with 750 drivers. Tourist footfall to hotels and amusement parks has come down drastically. “People who had booked tickets are cancelling their trips and there are no new bookings since the last fortnight,” Prashanth added. 

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C.A. Jayakumar of Travel Parkz said that even bookings for April and May have been cancelled and there is no tourist or industrialist visits. “Many tourists have asked us to put the bookings on hold. Most of the bookings have been cancelled. No one wants to visit abroad at the moment because of the outbreak. Now that the coronavirus cases have been reported in some parts of Europe as well, people are quite scared. The travel industry is facing losses because of outbreak,” he revealed.   

The scare continues and our governments are not definitely communicating about the disease. Most of the information is spread through social media and as such there is panic. “In the past too, there have been many disease spreads and they did not last beyond a month. This COVID-19 will surely break the tourism backbone,” he added. 

Srinivas from Bharat International Travels (BIT) said that to and fro tours to many places including Paris, Europe, London, Germany and Italy have been either cancelled or have been put off to a later date. “This is the time when we usually start receiving bookings, but this year, it is not the case. People who already had their tickets booked are requesting cancellation. They are even scared to fly over China,” he said.

COVID-19: Today’s updates 

  • Five, including three of a family, test positive in Kerala; total cases climbs to 39
  • Arunachal Pradesh bans entry of foreigners
  • New York declares emergency
  • China reports 27 new virus deaths, fall in new cases
  • Iran reports 21 new deaths, raising total to 145
  • Number of UK coronavirus cases rises to 206
  • France confirms 11 total deaths, number of   cases rises to 176
  • Italy puts large parts of north, including Milan and Venice, on lockdown
  • Schools in Srinagar closed till further orders
  • PM Modi holds review meet, asks officials to ensure sufficient quarantine, critical care facilities
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