Coronavirus: Visa bans to crash tourism industry in India

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Coronavirus: Visa bans to crash tourism industry in India
Coronavirus: Visa bans to crash tourism industry in India

New Delhi : The hotel and travel operators have raised fears that their industry will be hugely hit with the travel ban for foreigners in India till mid-April due to rising cases of coronavirus.

India has so far registered 74 positive cases of COVID 19 and one casualty in Karnataka because of it.

The government said on Wednesday it would cancel almost all visas until April 15, a move that could damage an industry that caters to about 10 million foreign tourists a year.

"Everything has been cancelled," Rachna Singh, CEO of the Federation of Hospitality and Tourism of Rajasthan, saying many people who had booked to visit next month had abandoned plans.

According to her four out of 10 people are somehow earn their living with tourist related activities in Rajasthan.

"All our members are suffering at the moment," said Chetan Gupta, general secretary of Indian Association of Tour Operators, adding that the visa ban risked taking tourism and business activity to an "all time low".

Meanwhile, coronavirus impact can be seen on the events as well.

Sports Secretary RS Jhulaniya told Reuters that the chief ministers of two states where India will play South Africa this month have been told the matches can go ahead but that stadiums must be empty.

Brijesh Patel, Indian Premier League (IPL) chairman, said a meeting would be held on Saturday to discuss "all possibilities" regarding the tournament that is due to start this month, including visas for overseas players and whether spectators could watch.