Swine flu: Takers for extended weekend getaway dips

August 12th, 2009

NEW DELHI - An extended weekend is coming up with Janmashtami and Independence Day leading up to a Sunday, but what could have been a perfect three-day getaway to a nearby holiday destination has found few takers because of the swine flu scare.

The new travel bookings for the upcoming weekend has definitely taken a beating because of the swine flu scare, Ashish Kishore, head of hotels and retail business of Yatra.com, a travel portal, told IANS.

Offering a range of holiday packages to suit every budget, Yatra has designed two night-three days getaways to more than 15 destinations within a travel distance of five-six hours from Delhi and some beyond that.

We are offering two nights-three days getaways for this weekend to a number of places like Almora, Nainital, Jaipur and Mussoorie. Besides these we are also offering getaways to Goa, Ooty and Lonavala, Kishore said.

However, the number of those keen on these packages have been few.

Gour Kanjilal, executive director of the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), said the influenza A (H1N1) scare has affected the travel plans of a lot of people.

Tourism has always been a psychological product and the fear for swine flu has definitely affected people’s travel plans. People are scared to venture out to mass gatherings and even to festival gatherings like that of Janmasthami, so forget about weekend getaways, Kanjilal told IANS.

Having said that there is a section of people who are still going ahead and planning a holiday over the weekend. Instead of staying cooped in their homes and watching all the hype in the TV they prefer going to a quieter place and enjoy the weekend, he added.

According to Kanjilal the most preferred destination for the three-day weekend is Shimla.

Shimla is an old favourite when it comes to short breaks. You can see a lot of places in a short span of time. People also like to go to places like Haridwar and Rishikesh, Dehradun, Mussoorie, even Goa. One of the upcoming destinations is Lansdowne in Uttarakhand which is a three and half hour drive from Delhi, he said.

The budget for such getaways range between Rs.4,500-6,000.

Rajiv Sharma, a tour operator here said that although he had a lot of people lining up to book short trips to nearby places for the upcoming weekend, the numbers have dipped now.

For the last five days, the number of bookings have come down considerably, almost by 60-70 percent for the upcoming weekend. It’s all because of the swine flu scare. There have been some cancellations too, but not too much, Sharma said.

Kishore added that although the new bookings have come down, there haven’t been many cancellations for the long trips and those done two-three weeks earlier.

Filed under Medicine, News, Swine Flu

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