The summer holidays, which are the longest for schoolchildren and students and their families, offer peak rates due to the high demand. But last year the end of March ushered in a lifestyle unknown to many – locked up at home and nowhere to go.
Major travel plans are still a mile away, but domestic tourism increased safely and slowly as lockdown norms were relaxed. Now a second wave of infections poses a threat for another summer vacation period.
Hotel bookings have decreased by more than 50%, according to M. Ravi, the joint secretary of the Karnataka Tourism Society. “Tourist traffic was also badly hit. If this continues, travel, tourism and hospitality will be in great trouble, ”he said. One of the reasons is the lack of uniformity in precautionary measures and protocols between different states. “You have to lift the requirement for an RT-PCR for certain states or make it mandatory for all. Each state now has its own rules, ”he added.
Sanjar Imam, president of the Karnataka Tourism Forum, admitted there were concerns about the recent surge in COVID-19 cases. “Some have put travel plans on hold, but we haven’t seen any cancellations for summer trips,” they said.
Representatives of the sector from popular travel destinations in Karnataka made similar statements. Jimmi Chengappa, general manager of Coorghomestays.com, said inquiries had decreased. “To Kodagu, 90% of the traffic usually comes from Bengaluru, which is still coming in. However, in the high season from April to May, tourists from Delhi, Mumbai etc. also come. Now tourists from Maharashtra are coming because of the no longer COVID-19 regulations, ”he said.
He added that the market had rebounded after the lockdown and said some host families are doing very well. “But like last time there is a tourism ban by the county government or if there is a lockdown-like situation in Bengaluru, it will be detrimental for another peak season,” he said.
Gurudev. SH, founder of Chikkamagalurustays.in and Sakleshpurstays.in, said there had been a good number of inquiries as of last Sunday, but inquiries have decreased since the numerous meetings under the leadership of the Chief Minister over the second wave. “There are no cancellations, but also no new bookings. For April we had started receiving inquiries from Chennai and Mumbai, but now a lot of people have put their plans on hold. With the panic over COVID-19, they are cautious now, ”he said.
Mr. Gurudev admitted that because of the uncertainty, the situation looks grim. “For many, tourism is their bread and butter, and for others it has been a compensatory income, especially when they have suffered losses on plantations due to unusual rainfall,” he said.
Officials at the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC) said the Tirupati Package, a popular offering from the company, continued to be well received. However, requests for other packages are starting to have an impact on the increasing number of reported COVID-19 cases, officials added.