New virus strain to severely hit international travel

New coronavirus strain: 66% of international travel bookings to be cancelled

Driven by flight bans due to the new coronavirus strain, international travel from India is bound to take another big hit in the first three months of 2021.

Two-thirds of those who had planned to take a flight out of the country are now likely to drop their plans and bookings, a countrywide survey has found. 

The survey by community social media platform, LocalCircles, was based on responses from over 10,000 people across 204 districts.

A high 71% of the respondents with travel plans were clear that they will not head out of the country in the next three months. 

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Only a minuscule 2% had travel bookings and were likely to travel internationally. But another 2% responded that they might cancel based on the emerging Covid situation.

However, on the domestic front, 18% had travel plans although 34% would evaluate based on how the pandemic behaves in the coming year. 

The Centre for Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine had reported that the mutant coronavirus was 56% more transmissible than other strains.

The mutation has been detected in South Africa, The Netherlands, Denmark and Australia.  Overall, the survey indicated that the mutant coronavirus and related flight bans have led to 66% of those planning international travel in the next three months to hold back.

“However, if India is able to contain the spread of Covid and the new virus mutations, domestic travel is likely to be strong,” the survey report said.

India’s ban on flights from and to the UK commenced on December 23, and is currently on until December 31.

After the lockdown, the Centre has not yet allowed regular operation of international flights. Instead, it operates transport bubbles with 23 countries, including the UK, via the Vande Bharat Mission.