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Chikungunya-Dengue outbreak could result in loss to tourism, aviation sectors: ASSOCHAM

The outbreak of Chikungunya- Dengue in Delhi must be dealt with on a war-footing both by the Centre and the state governments as the disease taking epidemic proportion is expected to result in a loss to the tourism and aviation industries, according to an ASSOCHAM assessment.

Delhi registers about 35 per cent of India’s total foreign tourist influx as they use the national Capital as a transit during their travel. Delhi which attracts fairly a large number of foreign tourists during the peak season set to begin from October this year.

Delhi being hit worst, the number of tourists visiting Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Jaisalmer and other locations in the western state is coming down drastically with the state government itself cautioning tourists against the disease.

In the winter season, roughly 2.5-3 lakh foreign tourists visit the Golden triangle Circuit of Delhi-Agra-Jaipur, accounting for about 30 per cent of the total number of the inbound traffic in the country.

According to official figures, the arrivals at the Delhi airport of the foreign tourists with destinations is about 30 per cent of monthly traffic of about eight lakhs and most of them are headed for the Golden triangle, said D S Rawat, Secretary General ASSOCHAM.

With increasing cases of Chikungunya- Dengue and the kind of negative reaction on the tourists, the traffic is set to drop drastically, leaving a bruising impact on businesses such as hotels, airlines, taxi operators, restaurants etc. Many tour operators are now gearing up with precautionary steps for foreigners arriving in Delhi during the peak tourist season set to begin from October this year.

Similarly, the US embassy in New Delhi also issued health advisory for their tourists visiting India, saying on their website that Outbreaks of mosquito-borne viral diseases such as dengue and chikungunya occur in various parts of India each year. Earlier, the UK embassy had issued health advisory on chikungunya sharing vital information about its symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, prevention and epidemiology.

In the middle of reports of the tenth death from the vector-borne disease, the inbound tourist operators are keeping close watch on the situation.

In all, the monthly foreign exchange earnings from the foreign tourists arrivals are between 1.5-two billion USD a month during the winter season. While the arrivals get disbursed to Maharashtra, south India and Goa coasts, a large concentration is around the Golden triangle.

As per the data, the Percentage share of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India during July, 2016 among the top 15 source countries was highest from Bangladesh (17.30%) followed by USA (16.51%), UK (11.67%), Malaysia (3.49%), France (3.12%), Sri Lanka (2.94%), Canada (2.66%), China (2.32%), Germany (2.31%), Japan (2.20%), Australia (2.20%), Nepal (2.04%), Oman (2.04%), UAE (1.99%) and Pakistan (1.66%).

The Percentage share of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India during July, 2016 among the top 15 ports was highest at Delhi Airport (26.22%) followed by Mumbai Airport (17.04%), Chennai Airport (10.11%), Haridaspur Land check post (9.82%), Bengaluru Airport (7.31%), Cochin Airport (5.14%), Hyderabad Airport (5.04%),Kolkata Airport (4.20%), Gede Rail (1.97%), Ahmadabad Airport (1.91%), Trivandrum Airport (1.91%), Tiruchirapalli Airport (1.55%), Attari-Wagah Land check post (1.09%), Amritsar Airport (0.97%) and Ghojadanga land check post (0.71%).

India is targeting to attract 1 per cent of world tourists by 2020 and about 2 per cent by 2025, banking heavily on India’s strong tourism potential.

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