Published On : Thu, Mar 12th, 2020

IATA member Agrawal terms coronavirus outbreak as worst catastrophe for tourism industry

Nagpur: Rajesh Agrawal, Member of International Air Transportation Association (IATA) & Chairman of Travel Agents Association of India, Nagpur Chapter, has termed the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak as the worst catastrophe tourism industry has ever faced when business has virtually come to a standstill.

“With the impact of Coronavirus spread all over the globe, travellers are scared, panicking and are cancelling their upcoming trips. Events are being cancelled, flights are being curtailed, attractions are being shut, hotels and immigration authorities are scanning passengers. Corporates are also putting their travel plans on hold which shall expose their employees to unknown risks, globally. This is the worst catastrophe tourism industry has ever faced,” Agrawal said in a press statement.

The International Air Transportation Association (IATA) is the trade association for world’s airlines, representing more than 290 airlines or 82% air traffic through IATA accredited travel agents worldwide. IATA supports many areas of aviation activity and help formulate industry policy on critical aviation issues.

Agrawal, the Member of IATA, further said that IATA agents have already appealed to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, DGCA, , all airlines and other stakeholders to consider the situation on humanitarian grounds and pass necessary instructions for date change waivers as well as cancellation policies on compassionate basis. This is a global concern, being not a political or an economic issue and should be considered in the interest of all. Many airlines have responded in the positive and have sent us the updated policies. Others have escalated to their global head offices for consideration. Health and life of the customers is of utmost importance, but the policies of the airlines, hotels and other vendors is being adhered too and the customers need to understand the same, until such waivers are received, we are not in a position to action the same, he addded.

The statement said that IATA member agents of Nagpur request that, travellers need to be patient. Acting as agents for the airlines and other vendors, it is beyond our limitations to offer waivers without the approval from the principals being airlines, hoteliers and other stakeholders. “We are awaiting review from the government, airlines, hoteliers and all concerned to reconsider their policies of refunds and cancellation charges. We urge consumer travelers to have faith in IATA Agents, as we ensure that we shall work towards the betterment of all concerned,” Agrawal said.