Omicron Hits Tourism Sector With 20% Cancellations: 5 Key Points

Omicron threat: The travel and tourism sector is again seeing a rise in cancellations amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Omicron threat: The tourism sector is seeing rising cancellations due to the new variant threat

New Delhi: The tourism sector that was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic for a whole year in 2020 due to lockdowns and travel restrictions is yet again facing a possible crisis. Cancellations have increased during the holiday season, say tour operators.

Here's a 5-point cheatsheet on tourism amid Omicron threat:

  1. The Omicron threat is beginning to hit the tourism sector in India. In the last three days alone, travel agencies have seen some 20 per cent cancellations in outbound travel, says Sriharan Balan, managing director of Madura Travel Services in Chennai.

  2. After a long lockdown in 2020, the sector had started coming back on its feet this holiday season. But outbound bookings to Dubai, Europe and the US are beginning to see a fall ahead of Christmas and New Year celebrations due to the Omicron threat. "Many who had planned to travel to these destinations this season are cancelling," Mr Balan said.

  3. Fresh travel restrictions by Maharashtra has led to worry that this could hit domestic tourism too if other states follow suit.

  4. Before the pandemic, for example, Tamil Nadu with three international airports saw five lakh outbound travellers in the 2019 winter holiday season. The same season in 2020 saw zero growth due to the pandemic. This year during the same period, the Omicron threat has hit the industry hard again when the travel and tourism sector had just started recovering.

  5. Customer interest towards traditional travel agencies who offered customised services had begun to revive, but it appears the Omicron threat will slow the growth of these services.