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Foreign nations put India on ‘no flying’ list

Forum Gandhi Mumbai | Updated on April 23, 2021

Industry experts say, the second pandemic wave has also affected domestic travel   -  The Hindu

As Covid-19 cases continue to spike, countries are restricting travellers

With more than 10 countries imposing restrictions on travel to and from India in the wake of the rising number of Covid-19 cases in the country, airlines and travel companies are in for more trouble.

The latest to impose restrictions is Germany which has added India to its ‘high incidence areas’ list – areas at particularly high risk of infection.

After the mayhem of at least 50 passengers testing positive for Covid-19, Hong Kong put flights to and from India on ‘no flying list’. With the fear that Indian passengers may carry the infection, the UK, Canada, New Zealand, UAE and Australia too followed suit. Indonesia stopped issuing visas to Indian travellers temporarily whereas France has imposed mandatory quarantine and the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has advised against travel to India.

Air bubbles

The Ministry of Civil Aviation had air bubbles with at least 27 countries which was a temporary arrangement between two nations, allowing commercial passenger services when regular international flights are suspended as a result of Covid-19. These flights are likely to resume.

IndiGo said it is continuing to operate services where the travel bubble is still in place and demand exists, whereas other airlines have not resumed international operations completely.

Jitul Mehta, Chapter Chairman, Travel Agents Federation of India said that the second wave is “catastrophic” for the Indian travel and aviation industry. “In the short-term, we will see several cancellations, smaller companies shutting shop, and in the long term, I feel this will impact the airlines too.”

A few industry experts BusinessLine spoke to said that the second wave in India has not only been an impact on international travel but on domestic travel as well. Travel was anyway restricted internationally, however, Indians were traveling to a nearby hill station or booking a villa outside the peripheries of the city, they say.

According to Rupal Shukla, founder of Tierra Handcrafted holidays, International Travel bans were expected and don’t come as a surprise given the new strains and huge surge in cases. Travel, if any at the moment, (domestic or international) is happening only for essential reasons. However, the multiple restrictions across the country have led people to retract back to their shells.

“With the second wave, most people have put their leisure travel plans on hold. April has been predominantly all about cancellation or postponement of travel plans by guests. In fact, we are not encouraging travel at least till the end of May as responsible travel professionals,” he said.

Published on April 23, 2021

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