There are absolutely no prizes for guessing that the biggest loser due to the novel coronavirus pandemic is the tourism sector. Travelling, which is a luxury, a non-essential service, seems like would be out of business for over a year, suggests a survey.
In the survey of 800 frequent travellers conducted by VN Holidays, 31.03 per cent of the travellers would like to go on a vacation after 12 months, while 30 per cent travellers said that they would go on a vacation in the next 6-12 months.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also set fear of travelling to international destinations, even in the minds of frequent travellers. Only 6.9 per cent of the travellers answered that they would travel outside the country after the pandemic ends, while 37.93 per cent of them said that they would not like to travel anytime soon.
"We got the information about the virus in January. At that time it was in China, South Korea and Singapore. We completed all our travels till February 15 and after that we cancelled all our bookings. There were out-bound trips to Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and in-bound trips to Kashmir, Manali, Sikkim, Rajasthan and Darjeeling which have been cancelled," said Vinit Bhalerao, Business Head, VN Holidays.
Bhalerao said that trips of nearly Rs 36 lakh which were booked in November and December 2019 for the months of February, March and April 2020 have been cancelled. He added that the company has a virtual unrealised loss of Rs 70-80 lakh because there were no bookings from the month of February.
Surinder Lidder of Holiday Bash International said that he had no hope from 2020. "Our last trip was in January. After which all our trips got cancelled. We had trips to Vietnam and Cambodia in February, Japan in March, Slovenia and Croatia in April, China in June and Russia in July. However, now all the trips stand cancelled and our money is stuck which we can use over the next year."
Meanwhile, the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has said that millions of jobs in the global tourism industry could be lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"With tourism suspended, the benefits the sector brings are under threat: millions of jobs could be lost, and progress made in the fields of equality and sustainable economic growth could be rolled back," UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said.