Tribune News Service
Ludhiana, July 5
Travel business in the city, which has an annual turnover of about Rs 150 crore (according to travel agents), has been badly hit due to the Covid-19 pandemic. There are no queries, no travel plans, no overseas business meetings etc. Many travel agents say they are planning to switch business to earn a livelihood.
While the government has not fully started national and international flight services, the “travel-crazy” residents of this industrial city prefer to stay home in these Covid times.
Talking to The Tribune, Mani Saggar from Devika Travels said the tourism industry had been worst hit by Covid. “People are not interested in leisure or business travels in the present scenario. There are zero bookings. Those who had booked much in advance have also cancelled their travel plans. The agents are sitting idle. Many small-time agents are likely to change the line of business as no improvement is expected till December 2020,” said Saggar.
When asked till when they expected the things to improve, Saggar said: “Things will not improve till the time a vaccine is launched in the market. There is so much panic and fear in the minds of people that they cannot imagine travelling these days. Otherwise, one third of the population would have gone for outings in India and abroad during this period of year”.
It is not that people have started avoiding overseas travel, but they do not wish to travel unless there is an emergency.
Rupjit Saggar, another travel agent, said: “Half of the hotels (two-star or three-star) at a majority of places are still not operational. Only the five-star hotels are able to sustain. Business through the AirBNB app has been badly affected too. There is uncertainty over travel plans as of now. Things may improve in December, but that is also not sure,” said Rupjit.
One of the residents of Sarabha Nagar, a frequent traveler and homemaker, wishing not to be quoted, said travelling seemed a distant dream now. “I have travelled to Europe, the US, the Middle East, Goa, South India and stayed in five-star hotels. Summer vacations cost up to Rs 7-10 lakh for a family of four. But this year, everything has changed. No place is safe where we can go and relax. Safety has become the lone concern. It is better to stay home and stay safe while travelling can wait till the things improve,” she said.
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