It's Hyderabad's tour operators who are now feeling the tremors of the massive earthquake and the tsunami Japan is reeling under. With denizens apprehensive about travelling east to island destinations this holiday season, travel agents say that the demand for these otherwise popular summer tourist spots has dropped significantly. On the list of `barred' locations are Bali, Mauritius, Seychelles, Maldives and even Malaysia. In fact, operators say that in the last few days alone, several travellers have either cancelled their bookings to these locations or put them off for later.
And in their place, it is `safer' holiday destinations like Singapore and Sri Lanka or even Kashmir and Kerala that tourists are now looking at to spend their summer vacations this year. Those with a fatter budget are even considering a trip to Europe, say travel agents. "We had about six bookings for Mauritius till the earthquake hit Japan. Now four groups have opted out," said Mahesh Kumar, assistant manager, operations and sales of SOTC adding how Australia and New Zealand too are out of the traveller's choice-list, at least for now.
"People are hesitant to travel anywhere in the Pacific region. They instead want to wait till the situation is better and then go," said Faizal Khan, branch ( Hyderabad) head of Raj Travels. While Khan said that his agency was yet to receive a request for cancellation, he agreed that travellers were cagey about venturing anywhere near the east asian country. "Even the north of India such as Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir have a better demand now," Khan said.
But while tour operators are hopeful of summer vacation bookings picking up post April, they say, it is the honeymoon season that they have failed to cash in on because of the earthquake. "We have some honeymooners who have cancelled their plans for Bali and Mauritius. A few have also postponed their trips," said Nageshwar Rao of Easy Trips, a Thomas Cook franchise. Pointing out how his firm usually does good business in March, thanks to the wedding season, Rao said that the bookings this time year was much poorer compared to the last few years.
However, some tour operators insisted that all was well with these island destinations and that there was no drop in demand among travellers. "People are indeed asking us if it is safe to travel to these places now, but nobody is pulling out because of the earthquake," claimed Mir Liaqat Ali, general manager, One Stop Holidays.