Visa cancellation to hit international travel: MakeMyTrip

New Delhi, March 12 (IANS) With India announcing to cancel all non-official visas till April 15, leading online travel aggregator MakeMyTrip on Thursday said the decision will have a distinct impact on inbound and outbound international travel.

Admitting that the government's decision to cancel all visas, with a few exemptions, is timely at this point to control the spread of COVID-19 but the move is going to impact the travel industry.

“So far, there are no restrictions or advisories issued for domestic travel. The period between February till the end of March is typically a lean period because of exam season but we are seeing a demand slowdown for the upcoming summer holiday season especially for international travel,” Rajesh Magow, Group CEO, MakeMyTrip, said in a statement.

“The situation remains dynamic, making it hard to quantify the actual impact on our business and industry at large,” Magow added.

Total number of novel coronavirus cases reached 73 on Thursday in India. Of these, 56 are Indian nationals and 17 are foreigners.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the novel coronavirus or COVID-19 as global pandemic. The death toll of COVID-19 has crossed the 4,000 mark and confirmed cases globally have over 1 lakh.

“Given the rapidly changing scenario, we will continue to monitor the developments closely and share updates and forecast based on the advice of government and public health authorities during this difficult period for the travel industry,” said Magow.

In a statement earlier this month, the company said there has been a slowdown in outbound travel bookings since the outbreak of coronavirus and travellers are being cautious in making their (outbound) travel plans.

“At MakeMyTrip, our outbound business stands at 20 per cent of the overall business and within this share – are the contributions from the southeast Asian countries that have got impacted. We do expect a potential impact on the overall business if the outbreak spreads westwards,” said the company.

“Continuing to extend complete support and comfort to our travellers amidst the scare, together with airline partners, we have been proactively offering full refunds to travellers in the impacted regions,” MakeMyTrip added.

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