Surge in COVID-19 cases leaves vacationers from Kerala a worried lot

The third wave of COVID-19, triggered by the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, is disrupting the travel plans of businesspeople and vacationers in Kerala.

With the looming uncertainty, families who had earlier booked flight tickets to go abroad have either cancelled or postponed their trips. “I was planning to visit my daughter in the United Kingdom this month. But the surge in positive cases has changed my plans to April,” said Beena Thomas, a retired college teacher.

Travel agents confirmed that advance bookings had come down by almost 50% and current bookings by 25%. “The cancellations are mainly on account of the stricter testing norms and quarantine rules,” said T. Hameed, a tour consultant in Kozhikode.

Usually, ticket bookings to the Gulf Cooperation Council nations for summer vacations begin from January. Many who had previously booked flights to visit the ongoing Expo 2020 in Dubai are also confused. Some have cancelled or postponed their tickets to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) .

“The peak winter tourism is in full swing in Dubai. Millions have visited the national pavilions since the expo started on October 1 last year,” said Vinod Nair, an NRI. Travellers are hoping that the expo organisers will extend the global event beyond March 31 in view of the pandemic situation. Despite the rise in COVID-19 cases in the UAE, over 10 million people have visited the expo until now.

Many travellers also fear that airline companies will hike fares in the wake of fluctuating travel restrictions. International flights were expected to resume from December 15. Now, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has continued the suspension of international commercial passenger flights till January 31. However, the DGCA has clarified that the restriction will not apply to flights approved by it and international cargo operations.

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Printable version | May 18, 2022 10:12:56 am |