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Europe's snowfall sends tourists Down Under

Last updated on: December 30, 2010 11:23 IST

Europe's snowfall sends tourists Down Under

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Sohini Das & Lakshmi Ajay in Ahmedabad

With heavy snowfall in Europe, outbound tourists this season have been forced to turn to warmer climes in the southern hemisphere.

And countries like Australia and New Zealand are literally making hay while the sun shines, with a 40-45 per cent rise in bookings from India.

Of the net outbound winter tourists from India, around 10 per cent usually vacation at European destinations.

But with Arctic conditions crippling most of the continent, tour operators across the country are seeing a 40-50 per cent drop in bookings for European holidays.

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Image: A television cameraman films an aircraft on the tarmac of Cointrin airport in Geneva.
Photographs: Denis Balibouse/Reuters
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Europe's snowfall sends tourists Down Under

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Many flights to Europe were cancelled over the Christmas weekend, with passengers stuck at airport terminals for hours, even days.

London's Heathrow airport, one of the world's busiest, was among the worst hit.

Since mid-December, hundreds of flights were cancelled at Heathrow alone after 12.7 cm (five inches) of snow in an hour.

Snow has also stalled road and rail traffic across Europe.

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Image: The Sydney Opera House.
Photographs: Tim Wimborne/Reuters
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Europe's snowfall sends tourists Down Under

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Delhi-based tour operator Dolphin Tours & Travels said 5-10 per cent of outbound leisure tourists go to Europe in winter and the most popular destinations are Switzerland, France and the UK -- countries that have hard hit by snow this year.

It said many have cancelled their bookings.

"This year, due to the cold wave in Europe, we have seen a 40 per cent increase in cancellations, especially in the leisure segment.

Many tourists looking to travel to Europe for New Year have rescheduled their plans," iterated Keyur Joshi, co-founder and chief operating officer of Makemytrip.com.


Image: Rain clouds gather over Lake Te Anau on the south island of New Zealand.
Photographs: Russell Boyce/Reuters
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