Business Bureau :
The travel agents are facing rough weather these days as business has dropped significantly due to various travel restrictions imposed by the Government to contain the spread of coronavirus. “The COVID restrictions and guidelines on movement of people have severely affected the travel agents. The Government should provide some kind of relief or announce financial package to support the travel agents in this crisis,” said sources in the market. Air passenger traffic has fallen steeply to 20 per cent to 30 per cent. Major airlines are finding it hard to cope with low ticket bookings as their flights have become unviable.
They are regularly cancelling flights due to lack of ticket bookings, sources in the market said. Sources said that the travel agents are suffering heavy financial burden. They are not able to pay rent, salaries of employees, interest on loans, electricity bills among other expenses. Travel agents who offered package tours have stopped due to lack of bookings. At Nagpur airport, a large number of flights are being cancelled on regular basis due on absence of ticket bookings. There are about 30 to 35 travel agents registered with International Air Transport Association (IATA) and 80 to 90 non-registered travel agents operating in the city. The lack of business has forced some of the travel agents to close shop. Ticket bookings have evaporated into thin air.
On top of this, the current lockdown has kept their offices closed. Suspension of international flights and various quarantine regulations at Nagpur airport have taken its toll on the business operations of travel agents. Business has significantly dropped below 10 per cent as compared to monthly average, sources said. Another problem with flight cancellations is the issue of timely ticket refunds by airlines.
This shows how bad the situation is for travel agents, sources pointed out. On top of this, every State in the country has different rules and guidelines for air passengers at their airports. This is making it even more complicated for air passengers, sources said. The Central Government should intervene and provide support in the form of moratorium and waive interest on bank loans for three months to support the travel agents tide over the challenging COVID situation prevailing in the country, sources added.