Agra, March 6, 2020 –
Five-star hotels in Agra have decided to cancel all room bookings made with them by tourists arriving from countries that reported coronavirus or COVID-19 cases.
The decision comes after the district authorities warned that the hotels would be sealed if any positive case of coronavirus was detected among tourists staying there.
The central government has already announced temporary suspension of visas and e-visas granted on or before Tuesday to visitors from Italy, Iran, South Korea, and Japan.
An Agra hotel executive, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told IANS on Friday that no hotelier could afford a closure of his business. Hence, he said, it was decided to decline rooms to tourists from these ‘high-risk’ countries, even if the guests had confirmed reservations. “We will make full refunds to them,” the hotel staff said.
Over 1,200 bookings had already been cancelled by tourists in various city hotels due to the COVID-19 scare, he said.
Around 12 five-star and five-star deluxe properties exist in Agra, where foreign tourists stay during their visit to the city of Taj Mahal.
Meanwhile, the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) has urged Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Principal Secretary of Tourism and Culture Department, and the District Magistrate of Agra to issue necessary directions to all hotels in Agra to honour room bookings already made by the tour operators.
They argued that tourists — who were allowed into India and were already here — should be allowed to check in after getting the medical clearance from health authorities.
The IATO said that these “knee-jerks” reactions would adversely impact tourism in the country. (Agency)
India confirms 31 cases of coronavirus