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Coronavirus: Hotel business runs dry in Delhi as tourists choose 'caution' over 'leisure'

Hospitality Recreation

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

As coronavirus cases surge in India, the hotel industry has taken a hit with tourists scrapping plans and several hotels in the national capital cancelling bookings for conferences and group events.

Delhi, which itself has several tourist spots, serves as a transit point for those going up north in the hills or other popular destinations like Agra and Rajasthan.

But with the coronavirus threat, several hotels in the city---from luxury to budget accommodations--have seen a dip in tourist footfall.

Business is dry in Paharganj area in old Delhi, one of the popular destinations among foreigners for budget hotels.

"Usually backpacker tourists come to our hotel and spring is the time for us to do business as its neither too hot nor cold, but due to (coronavirus) panic and visas being cancelled, there is hardly any business since last week," said a representative at Hotel Hans Raj Delux in Paharganj.

March-April also happens to the peak tourist season in the national capital.

India has suspended all visas, except a few categories such as diplomatic and employment, till April 15 in a bid to contain the coronavirus spread, according to a revised travel advisory by the government.

The suspension will come into effect from 1200 GMT on March 13 at the port of departure.

Hotel Uddhav Palace, also in the Paharganj area, is also waiting for tourists while it is sanitising the hotel area regularly for domestic guests.

"There are no leisure travellers, only people who are in transit due to some work. We are sanitising the hotel area to ensure that the staff as well as guests are not exposed to any infection. There are no foreigner guests since the beginning of this month," said manager of the hotel.

A receptionist at Hotel Orchid Garden, Karol Bagh -- known for its budget hotels -- said business is bad as there is panic among tourists.

"We are getting queries from tourists about the situation here and whether it is safe to travel and the arrangements we have in place, but we are not getting any fresh bookings," she said.

Mahipalpur in south Delhi which is a popular destination for tourists especially those in transit due to its proximity to the airport, is also recording low business.

"The business is down by over 60 per cent. We had groups of tourists coming in, but they have cancelled their tours due to the virus scare. The cancellations happened within the last week," said Arvind Sharma, General Manager, The Lohmod Hotel.

Bobby Lohia, Head, Mahipalpur Hotels Association said, "Tourists are anyway adopting a cautious approach. We have advised hotels to send advisories for bookings already made for conferences and events with big gatherings, and suggest postponing such events. Better to be safe than sorry. We are also sensitising staff at various hotels on how to keep the virus at bay."

The Union health ministry said the number of coronavirus patients in the country has risen to 74 with 14 fresh cases, including a foreign national.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Thu, March 12 2020. 21:44 IST