regular-article-logo Tuesday, 06 June 2023

Jharkhand residents cancel, put off travel plans amid Omicron fear

Agents, firms fear losses as many have started to scrap New Year trip bookings

Our Correspondent Ranchi Published 01.12.21, 07:12 PM
Representational file image

Representational file image

The growing fear of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, coupled with frequently changing protocols for interstate and international travel, many residents of Jharkhand are cancelling or rescheduling New Year or work-related travel plans.

Many who had plans of spending Christmas and New Year’s-Eve in places like Goa and Pondicherry have kept their plans on hold, while some residents who made bookings in resorts and homestays in the mountains of Darjeeling and Sikkim are left second guessing.


“We made bookings in Goa for the New Year, but we had to cancel our bookings owing to the new variant of the coronavirus. More than the fear of Omicron, the uncertainty caused by frequently changing travel protocols made us take this decision,” said Kajal Kapur, a Kanke Road resident who was set to leave for Goa on December 23 with her husband and two friends.

Travel agencies, which are usually flooded with inquiries during this time of the year, have also witnessed a slump in their business. While existing bookings have either been cancelled or postponed, fresh bookings have been hard to come by.

Amrita Roy, owner of Travelogue, a Siliguri-based travel company that has several clients in Ranchi, said at least two tour packages from Ranchi to Darjeeling were cancelled in the past couple of days.

“We are still recovering from the losses incurred during the lockdowns. And now, so many bookings have been cancelled due to this new variant. We might incur losses even this year if this new variant spreads in India as well,” she said.

The Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 virus, which first surfaced in South Africa, has already been detected in Belgium, Botswana, Hong Kong, Britain, Australia, Israel and some other countries, sparking a global concern.

All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Director Dr Randeep Guleria has warned that the Omicron variant of coronavirus has at least 30 mutations, and it may bypass the immunity provided by vaccines in India.

Some residents planning to visit foreign shores for work have also been forced to cancel their plans in the wake of the frequently changing travel protocols for international travellers in different countries, while some are worried about the skyrocketing price of air tickets to places in the United States.

Mohit Kumar, a Harmu resident who had to catch a flight to Seattle, said that the air fares have almost doubled, forcing him to rethink his travel plans. "It seems I have to keep my plans on hold for a little longer,” he said.

Follow us on: