In the wake of COVID-19, travel plans of several people have had to be put on hold. To tackle this, the Travel Agent Association (TAA) of Pune has decided to offer their customers a credit scheme wherein travellers can reschedule their bookings against existing ones.
The summer months are considered peak travel time in India, and Pune alone records 50,000 to 70,000 holiday bookings in these times, said Vishwas Kelkar, chairman, TAA Pune.
“Due to this uncertainty caused by coronavirus, people will not be making travel plans near the future. They will, at most, prefer weekend getaways or opt for short domestic trips, provided that everything is conducive for travel,” Kelkar said.
Since the second week of March, he, along with 600 odd travel agents in the city, has been only handing booking cancellations. Of these, 300 travel agents are officially registered.
“Some customers threatened us when we announced that the paid sum will not be returned,” Kelkar said. “How can we repay, when we have invested money in the issuance of visa, along with advance payments for hotels, airlines and railways? About two to five per cent customers have been unruly.”
On Monday, the association held a virtual meeting in which a future course of action was discussed. It was then decided that travel agents should permit rescheduling. Customers can now make fresh travel plans and avail it against existing bookings within the next trhee to six months or, in exceptional cases, up to one year.
The association’s priority is to inform and convince customers that they will not suffer any loss of money, he said.
Since there is no clarity as to when airlines and railways will resume operations after April 14, the association has appealed to customers to grant them a month’s time.
Kelkar said, “Many customers have agreed to avail the credit scheme during Diwali vacations, this year.”
Kesari Travels and Veena World, two prominent travel agencies in the city, have announced rescheduling of existing bookings. Kesari Travels said it will reschedule all domestic and international travels scheduled till May 15.
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