More Indians may turn on Outbound Travel Mode

Travel service providers have welcomed the government’s move to allow booster or preventive Covid vaccinations for all adults and said the development will give even further support to international bookings this summer for markets such as Europe and make people more confident about long-haul travel.

The government announced on Friday that all adults who took the second dose of the vaccine at least nine months ago can receive the third dose in private hospitals from April 10. The announcement could not have come at a better time as it coincides with the peak booking season for the upcoming summer holidays, said Rajeev Kale, President and Country Head of Holidays, MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) and Visa at Thomas Cook India.

“With several top international destinations including Europe requiring a booster dose between 180 and 270 days after the second dose, the preventive dose opens up the possibility of travel to a far wider range of international destinations, particularly on long-haul routes, and this will serve to boost the business in leisure, business travel and the high-performing corporate segments of the MICE Group,” he said.

According to Schengenvisainfo.com, the EU has recommended all European countries to agree on a uniform acceptance period for Jab certificates, which proposes 270 days. While some have chosen to follow, others have imposed a shorter validity. Belgium shortened the validity to 150 days from March 1st.

“Travellers should gain trust”

Austria, which accepts both Covaxin and Covishield for entry, was one of the first EU countries to announce that the validity will be reduced to 180 days from February 1st.

ET reported on April 5 that a week after scheduled overseas commercial operations resumed from India, demand for international travel has shown a “significant acceleration” and inquiries have surged despite rising air fares, according to some industry players.

A spokesman for visa processing firm VFS Global said that while there has already been a significant increase in outbound travel from India with the resumption of regular international flights and the lifting of travel restrictions in many countries, booster doses will continue to encourage people to plan trips abroad .

A MakeMyTrip spokesman said opening up booster doses to all adults over the age of 18 was a “welcome” move. “As Covid restrictions have been lifted across the country, this move will definitely help boost confidence for everyone, including travellers. This will also help to proportionally accelerate demand and facilitate travel to international nations such as Germany, Spain and Switzerland, which have previously made booster doses a requirement for international travellers,” the spokesman said.

STIC Travels chairman Subhash Goyal said the move will help both inbound and outbound tourism. “If tourists coming to the country know that so many citizens are vaccinated, it will boost their confidence,” he said.

Himank Tripathi, president of foreign affairs at EaseMyTrip, said the move will provide an extra level of protection and enable Indians to travel to countries that need a third vaccination or booster dose.

“There is strong underlying travel pent-up demand and we believe the refresh will further boost travel sentiment and accelerate the travel industry’s resurgence to pre-pandemic levels,” he said.

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