europe: tour operators see clear skies over Europe

Travel service providers and tour operators are yet to see Russia’s invasion of Ukraine impact bookings to Western Europe and other destinations. They said bookings to Eastern Europe were tiny compared to other short-haul destinations anyway, as international commercial flight operations have yet to take off from India. So far, the platforms have not registered any cancellations for other parts of Europe.

Rajeev Kale, President and Country Head – Holidays, MICE and Visa at Thomas Cook India, said the company saw no “downside” and its summer demand was on a “strong trajectory”, with Switzerland , with France and Spain in Europe experiencing sustained activity, an increase of 3x compared to the same period last year.

“From a MICE business perspective too, we are seeing a strong recovery, with large medium to large groups already confirmed to travel as early as March-April,” he added.

Subhash Goyal, president of STIC Travel and Air Charter Group, said the situation did not affect bookings for other European destinations. “Traffic to Eastern Europe was negligible anyway as international commercial flights to and from India have yet to take off and we are awaiting official notification. We see no negative impact on other destinations because of this situation,” he added. Nishant Pitti, CEO and co-founder of EaseMyTrip, said travelers who had booked specifically for Ukraine and Russia have canceled reservations and are considering other options such as Dubai, the Maldives and Sri Lanka. “There are no major cancellations for travel to another country at this time,” he added.

A Yatra.com spokesperson said the platform saw no changes in booking trends or price increases and they remained the same for February and March. Another executive from an online travel platform said the initial surge in demand for overseas destinations after the drop in Covid-19 cases was for short-haul destinations from India anyway.

Daniel D’souza, president and country head of SOTC Travel, said the company’s demand pipeline is showing an “impressive increase” for Western Europe with countries including Switzerland, France, Spain and recently Italy presenting strongly, a jump of 2 times per week. since the end of January. “We have not witnessed comparable interest in Eastern Europe and therefore the current situation is expected to have a negligible impact on our demand and bookings for the upcoming summer holiday season which starts at the end of April and extends until July,” he added.

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