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Tourism business slumps as 21-day lockdown commences

Tourism business slumps as 21-day lockdown commences

KOLKATA: Tour operators are in a fix after the three-week lockdown was imposed from Wednesday to fight Coronavi- rus in the country.

"The entire Tourism sector is paralysed since March 22 as operation of domestic flights has been suspended from Tuesday midnight to check the spread of COVID-19. The interstate bus services in West Bengal have also been suspended till March 31 as a preventive measure. Consequently, we are suffering 100

per cent loss," said Ashfaque Ali, director of Saima Forex Pvt Ltd (International and Domestic Air Tickets).

While March and April are considered as the peak season for tour operators when people prefer to go to hill stations, the scenario is different this year.

"Not only Shikarawalas or hotels in Kashmir but also the people associated with the Tourism sector are getting affected. People who have booked government hotels may cancel or reschedule their trip.

At present, there is no cancellation charge," said Ahsan-ul-Haq, the officer-in-charge of the Jammu and Kashmir Tourist Office in Kolkata.

Meanwhile, South Eastern Railway (SER) has suspended booking of tickets for journey period up to mid-April.

"In view of Ministry of Home Affairs guidelines on the measures to be taken for containment of COVID-19, we have taken a decision. All counters for booking of rail journey tickets for both reserved/ unreserved travel at stations and outside stations shall remain closed up to April 14, 2020," said an official of SER.

He reiterated that e-ticketing facility for booking of reserved tickets for journey period after April 14, 2020, will be available online.

An elderly man infected with the Coronavirus died in a city hospital on Monday. The deceased, 57, was a resident of Dumdum in the North 24-Parganas district. He died at a private hospital and had no recent history of travelling abroad but had visited Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh in February.

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