As more and more Indians cancel and several more plan to shun plans to go abroad in summer holidays owing to the growing Coronavirus concerns, leading online travel aggregator MakeMyTrip is bracing itself for a severe turbulence as its over-all revenues are set to be hit at least for the first half of this year.
According to Deep Kalra, Founder and Executive Chairman MakeMyTrip, the word of travel has been ravaged due to global coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
“People initially weren’t travelling to China, Hong Kong and then, the list included Singapore, South Korea and now European countries. A lot of people are putting their plans on hold. It’s a very difficult time and one can only hope this will stop soon,” Kalra told IANS during a candid interaction.
“It’s clear that coronavirus will impact over-all revenues because of the cancellation of holiday plans. But we are taking all the major steps to minimise the impact,” Kalra explained. There has been a slowdown in outbound travel bookings since the break of coronavirus. Travellers are being cautious in making their (outbound) travel plans, according to the company.
“At MakeMyTrip, our outbound business stands at 20 per cent of the overall business and within this share — are the contributions from the Southeast Asian countries that has got impacted,” said the company.
“We do expect a potential impact on the overall business if the outbreak spreads westwards. Data on our platform indicates that flight bookings for Southeast Asian countries have been significantly impacted, however, countries in the westward region including US and Europe are seeing dip in numbers,” MakeMyTrip elaborated.
Over the past two weeks, the company has noticed a sudden spike in the number of cancellations as the outbreak spreads to new markets. “With respect to domestic travel, we have not seen any noticeable dip in bookings. However, in light of the recent developments, we are closely monitoring the situation,” the company noted.
Several Indian travellers have called off their travel plans especially to South East Asian cities. Travel industry experts have said that business related travel on South East Asian routes has been impacted badly but leisure travel has been worse affected.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has estimated that air travel demand will not only decline in the current calendar year, but may lead to loss of revenues of as much as $29 billion for the airline sector.
“There is no travel company that would not have been impacted due to this new virus,” said Kalra. At least 28 cases of new coronavirus have been reported from India. The virus has affected more than 60 countries across the globe.
According to market experts, hotel occupancies in India have declined 10-15 per cent and cancellations have risen around the same magnitude in the past few weeks. Sector players also said that the impact has been severe on the premium hotel segment while mid-range and affordable segments have so far not been affected.
Kalra, however, said the company has done a few investments in early-stage travel technology startups and will continue to do this despite the rising concerns over Coronavirus. The company has already invested in more than 10 travel startups.
“If we come across any thing good to invest, we will go ahead with the investment,” Deep said. (IANS)