CAA protests hit tourism sector

Forum Gandhi Mumbai | Updated on January 03, 2020 Published on January 03, 2020

Tourist arrivals to Taj Mahal had seen a decline of 16% as of December 30   -  PTI

Industry sees 18% fall in tourist arrivals in December

The ongoing protests over the Citizenship Amendment Act across the country have impacted the tourism industry. Players estimate a 12-18 per cent decline in the number of travellers in December compared to the same period last year.

While there has been a dip in the number of foreigners coming to India owing to travel advisories being issued by several countries, including the US, Canada, the UK, France, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, domestic travellers are also staying put. Players whom BusinessLine spoke to felt there has been a drop in the overall tourists this season. Vasant Kumar Swarnkar, Superintendent Agra Division, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) said tourist arrivals to Taj Mahal saw a 16 per cent decline at 58.8 lakh as of December 30 compared to 69 lakh the same time last year.

Bookings drop

Agra-based tour operator Travel Bureau said the bookings were slashed by half in December. Similarly, Mumbai-based VP Travels, which caters to inbound tourists, saw a 15 per cent dip. Experiential tour company No Footprints saw B2B bookings decrease by 12 per cent.

“Foreign media has covered the protests in the city and, considering that Delhi and UP have been the epicentre for this movement since the start of December, there is no doubt that it will affect the inbound movement. In fact, more so in the inbound sector since first-timers always do the golden triangle that includes Delhi, Jaipur and Agra,” said Harshvardhan Tanwar, Co-founder, No Footprints.

According to Airports Authority of India data, between April and November 2019, international movement was down by 1.9 per cent; with the highest dip in the western region by 9.6 per cent and in the northern region by 3.7 per cent. In November, international passenger growth was 0.9 per cent on a YoY basis. However, domestic travel by international passengers was down by 10.9 per cent. In Agra, passenger traffic dipped by 59.9 per cent.

Subash Goyal, Chairman of STIC Travel, said, “Several group tours got postponed. There has been an impact of 3-5 per cent for us. From an industry perspective, there was an expectation of growth of 8 per cent on a YoY basis.”

Peak period

The period between November and February is usually considered to be the peak of inbound tourism within India. “The overall industry has clearly been impacted post the travel advisories being issued. We have seen a 15 per cent decline in our booking. People within India too preferred to stay indoors because of flight cancellations, the cold wave in Delhi,” said Jitul Mehta, owner, VP Travels.

For larger companies like Thomas Cook (India), the impact was limited to North East as they can offer alternative domestic destinations like Puducherry, the backwaters of Kerala and Jaisalmer where the protests have not had much of an impact. “We have seen a significant dampening of demand of over 18 per cent for the current holiday season for the North East Region,” said Rajeev Kale, President & Country Head – Holidays, MICE, Visa, Thomas Cook (India).

Published on January 03, 2020
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