puri: Peak cases lead to cancellation of hotel reservations | Bhubaneswar News

Bhubaneswar: Sudden spike in Covid-19 cases and closure of Jagannath temple resulted in large-scale cancellation of hotel reservations in Puri. It also coincided with the refusal of many hotels to refund the reservation amount to tourists.
The occupancy rates of most hotels, which were buzzing with tourists until a week ago, have dropped to around 25%. From December to January, hotels generally experience the peak of activity with around 80% occupancy.
“Our business has been hit hard due to the pandemic in 2020 and 2021. The expected third wave has also started to wreak havoc in the hospitality industry. Although the government has yet to impose any travel restrictions or lockdowns, tourists are scared and have started canceling reservations. Since the Jagannath Temple will remain closed to worshipers until January 31, tourists are not interested in visiting Puri now, ”said Raj Kishore Patra, secretary of the Puri Hotel Association.
Yugabrata Kar, a tour operator and restaurateur, said tourists were harassed by many hotels for canceling room reservations. “Some of my guests from Pune had reserved five rooms in a hotel facing the sea. Wary of the Covid situation and following the closure of the Puri temple, they canceled the reservations. But the hotel now refuses to refund the amount of the reservation, ”said Kar.
However, hotels said they have asked their customers to postpone their travel plans. Many hotels stress their booking terms and refuse to refund money if canceled. But when making reservations, few hotels share cancellation fees with customers.
“We ask customers to postpone their travel plans. It is difficult to refund the full amount of the reservation as we charge the money for the cost of the online payment gateway and as a third party commission (online travel booking platforms), ”said Debasis Kumar , vice-president of the Puri Hotel Association.

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