The terror attacks in Mumbai have led to an atmosphere of gloom in the tourism industry. There have been bulk cancellations of tour programmes and a steady fall in hotel bookings in Kerala, Rajasthan, Agra, Maharashtra and Goa.
Kerala state tourism corporation chairman Cherian Philip said, “In our premier hotel Mascot in Thiruvananthapuram, 323 rooms booked for mid-November-December period stand cancelled, causing a loss of Rs 25 lakh.”
“In 2007, more than 5.25 lakh foreign and 50 lakh domestic tourists visited the state, bringing in a revenue of Rs 1,140 crore. But this time, we fear a 50 per cent dip,” rued Tomy Pulikkattil, a pioneer in backwater tourism.
In Maharashtra, cancellations of bookings at tourist resorts and on Deccan Odyssey, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation’s (MTDC) super luxury train, have already begun pouring in. MTDC general manager Vijay Chavan said the corporation had cancelled all Deccan Odyssey trips in December.
Mahavir Singh of Bikaner, a 43-year-old tour operator in the heritage village of Mandowa, 200 km east of Bikaner, feared that the incident would discourage foreign tourists from visiting Rajasthan. There are hundreds of operators in the state, who depend entirely on tourism.
Agra Hotels and Restaurants Association (AHRA) president Rakesh Singh Chauhan said a delegation from the city would soon meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with a demand for immediate steps to save the industry.
In Goa, tour and travel operators said after suffering the global slowdown, the Mumbai attacks were more of a tectonic blow for them. “This season is already gone. We need to consolidate for the next tourist season,” said president of the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) president Ralph D’Souza.
The TTAG claimed that the Free of Itinerary tourist (FIT) category, which account for nearly 50 per cent of the total tourist arrival would take a hit. “We have already started heavily discounting tours by nearly 40 per cent,” claimed a tour operator on condition of anonymity.