WITH NEW Delhi’s air quality again turning “very poor” on the eve of Diwali, travellers from Mumbai have started either making their trips shorter or delaying their visit to the national capital.
According to travel websites, there is a dip of 25 per cent in the number of solo travelers and families heading to Delhi for Diwali. Moreover, tourists are also giving Delhi a miss and heading to other northern cities.
On Tuesday, Delhi recorded an Air Quality Index (AQI) at 394, which falls in the ‘very poor’ category, data by the Central Pollution Control Board showed.
“During the festive season, the air quality in Delhi deteriorates considerably. With the falling AQI levels, travelers are looking at cutting their trips shorter. While solo travelers and backpackers are travelling as per schedule, families are postponing trips. Business travellers as well are looking at postponing their trips and rescheduling it sometime during the end of November,” said Sharat Dhall, COO (B2C), Yatra.com.
Aloke Bajpai, CEO & Co-founder, ixigo said, “Tourists, including foreigners, are having a tough time coping with increasing air pollution in Delhi. With air quality dipping, there is a growing health concern, especially among children and senior citizens.”
Karan Anand, head (relationships), Cox & Kings Limited, said: “While we are not aware of anyone cutting short their trips, we have noticed that tourists are skipping Delhi and flying to places like Jaipur, Jodhpur and Chandigarh. Those who want to visit Agra are flying there directly from Jaipur. However, this is just temporary and I don’t think it will last for more than a week.”
Bookings by many foreign travellers have also witnessed a spike. According to travel website EaseMyTrip, hardly 4,000 foreigners have booked air tickets to Delhi this year as compared to an average of 15,000 bookings during this time last year.
Nishant Pitti, CEO of EaseMyTrip said, “The Golden Triangle tourist circuit of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur is on much demand this time. Growing pollution levels will keep foreigners away. At present, no major cancellation has been witnessed. However, foreigners who are yet to plan their trips may become skeptical about visiting Delhi.”
Travel websites claimed that health concerns have also driven tourists to “green-getaways” and eco-friendly destinations. “From solar-powered accommodations to organic farms, people have an array of options to choose from. It is safe to say that ecotourism is most definitely the perfect escape for anyone looking to get away from the festive, city pollution,” Bajpai said.