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Last Updated : Mar 13, 2020 08:46 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Despite coronavirus threat, Indian cruise companies upbeat about demand in summer

"Cruising is safe. People have wrong impressions due to what is happening globally. In fact, travellers are feeling safer within a cruise. Hence, our bookings are increasing," said Jurgen Bailom, president and chief executive officer, Jalesh.

Representative image
Representative image

The coronavirus outbreak, which has particularly rocked the global cruise industry, especially after news about Diamond Princess emerged, is unlikely to make a dent in the fortunes of India-based cruise companies.

Talking to Moneycontrol, Varun Chadha, CEO, TIRUN (the exclusive Indian representative of Royal Caribbean Cruises), said: "We are getting into the booking season. What is encouraging is the number of cancellations we have got We are getting inquiries although the time taken to convert inquiries into bookings has increased."

Another home-grown player Jalesh Cruises too expressed confidence about the Indian market.

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"Cruising is safe. People have wrong impressions due to what is happening globally. In fact, travellers are feeling safer within a cruise. Hence, our bookings are increasing," said Jurgen Bailom, president and chief executive officer, Jalesh.

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According to Chadha, the bookings for Alaska is up by 150 percent and for Bahamas and Caribbean, bookings are up by 25 percent. “However, we are short in Europe as bookings are down by 26 percent,” he said.

However, Mohit Poddar, CEO and co-founder, Shoes on Loose, a travel aggregator, said he is seeing huge drop in cruise bookings on the platform.

"We would get around 20 bookings for cruises in a month, which now has come down to zero," he said.

Chadha pointed out that they cancelled deployment from mid-February to end of March as it became necessary for cruise lines to take a call whether to let their ships operate or not due to the rapid spread of coronavirus across the world.

"Also, majority of our traffic goes to Singapore at this time of the year (February to March). Europe opens up in summer. Most of the deployment from India only happens May onwards to Europe, he added.

Hence, Chadha said that for cruise industry the emphasis is on summer and the players are taking a wait and watch approach.

Currently, the cruise players are focusing on educating travelers in the wake of coronavirus.

"If there are people who have been to restricted places in the last 15 days and are coming to our ships we are not allowing them and are offering them their money back," said Chadha.

Along with education, cruise players are also promoting products like insurance cards which covers a traveller's medical and some also cover cancellations.

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First Published on Mar 13, 2020 08:43 pm

tags #Travel

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