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25% travel bookings for Indonesia may be cancelled

Last updated on: April 12, 2012 10:51 IST

25% travel bookings for Indonesia may be cancelled

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Ruchika Chitravanshi and Aneesh Phadnis in New Delhi/Mumbai

With the holiday season just around the corner, the high-intensity earthquake in Indonesia has thrown the vacation plans of Indian travellers into a tizzy.

"We are expecting 20-25 per cent cancellations in the bookings to Indonesia and nearby locations like Singapore, Malaysia, etc," said Vijay Thakur, president, Indian Association of Tour Operators.

Travel companies are trying to address the concerns of those visiting Indonesia and surrounding coastal areas.

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Photographs: Rediff Archives

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While several have deferred their plan, many have decided to wait and watch how the situation builds up in the coming days.

Madhav Pai, chief operating officer, leisure travel (outbound), Thomas Cook (India) Ltd, said, "We are in constant touch with our local ground handling agents and tour managers to ensure the safety of all our customers and are closely monitoring the situation.

"We will take all steps to ensure our customers' safety."

According to tour operators, those travelling with families and children are not willing to take any risk.

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Image: Map showing epicentre of the earthquake.


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Mehernosh Billimoria of Master Holidays, a Mumbai-based travel agency, said travellers had begun cancelling and deferring trips out of panic.

"Two families booked to travel to Hong Kong and China have cancelled their flight tickets for tonight, fearing they would get stranded at the airport.

"There have been a lot of anxious calls from passengers, too" he said.

Travel companies are also waiting to see if the governments concerned would put out any travel advisory on the quake-hit destinations. 

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Image: People riding motorbikes and cars packed the street in Banda Aceh after the quake.
Photographs: Junaidi Hanafiah/Reuters

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Depending on that, they could advise customers to wait and accordingly tweak their plans.

Billimoria also said the flights to Bangkok and Hong Kong are expected to go full, despite the tsunami warning.

"It is a holiday season and there are no economy class seats available today," he said.

According to travel experts, since a large number of travellers take low-cost airlines to the far-east destinations, which may not be covered under insurance and tickets are usually non-refundable, most prefer to defer than cancel the plan altogether.

"As of now, we are not seeing any cancellations," a Cox and Kings spokesperson said.



Image: Office workers panic as they evacuate and gather in front an office building in Medan after the quake.
Photographs: YT Haryono/Reuters

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