The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Carnival over, rush to cancel tickets

Calcutta, March 24: Aditya Sharma was planning to fly to the Caribbean next week but has changed his mind.

“I had sought the best tour package for the Super Eight from my agent,” said the businessman. “But the loss has left me in a state of shock. It’s a disgrace.”

Percussionist Sabbir Khan had finalised his trip for later this month. “Last time, too, I was in South Africa. But this time there is no point going there now,” he said.

The Caribbean cricket carnival is all but over for the city as disappointed cricket fans cancelled tours to the West Indies.

“For us, the World Cup is over. I had planned to be there and watch India’s Super Eight matches. But this morning, I called up my travel agent and cancelled reservations,” said Rajesh Metharamani, who owns a garment store at New Market.

Some, like J.M. Kapoor, has changed his destination.

“Our hopes are shattered,” said the city-based engineer. “Instead of going to the Caribbean, I will go to Europe now to spend my holiday.”

The cricket lovers had made last-minute reservations despite the high package prices, which varied between Rs 2.78 lakh and Rs 6 lakh for stays from nine to 21 nights on luxury cruises.

“A large number of bookings were lined up but India’s loss made things go haywire today,” said Anil Punjabi, the chairman (east) of the Travel Agents Federation of India.

“When the Cup began, the euphoria was high and a lot of people made reservations. But since this morning, many have cancelled their plans. We are afraid the number of cancellations might go up in the coming days.”

P. Srinivas, the vice-president of SOTC Sports Abroad, one of the official tour agents for the World Cup, said the shock defeat would have an impact on the travel industry. “Last-minute travellers will change their mind,” he said.

Srinivas, however, is optimistic about those who have a real passion for the game.

“A significant number of those who had bought the packages also want to enjoy a holiday on a cruise,” he said, adding that most tourists have been to conventional destinations like Southeast and West Asia, Europe and the US.

“But the World Cup gave them the opportunity to enjoy the game and also visit the islands for the first time.”

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