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Amidst Qatar crisis, here’s how Indians are affected

BI India Bureau | Jun 8, 2017, 01.40PM IST
The ongoing tiff between Qatar and other gulf countries has affected Indians in a strange and unexpected manner, having impacted their travel plans for the current summer break.

As per travel portals, Doha had become a key hub in the Middle East for travellers going from Europe, America and Asia. However, the ongoing crisis, which saw major airlines like Etihad and Emirates suspending flights to and from Doha, travellers have been forced tp cancel their trips.

Several Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, UAE and Yemen, have cut diplomatic ties with Qatar accusing that it supports Islamist groups, and this has resulted in Qatar having no access to these countries via trucks, planes and ships.

"With connectivity routes being hit by the recent Gulf crisis, traveller plans have been impacted considerably. We have witnessed an increased inflow of customer calls by 55% since June 5. Most of the calls received are from customers booked with Qatar Airways, who wish to seek clarity on the refund part or alternate flight options' availability," Balu Ramachandran, head - air and distribution, Cleartrip, told ET. "We are keeping a close watch on the situation and have deployed a dedicated customer service team to help with these cases."

As per Etihad's official website, customers that have booked on flights to and from Doha are being provided with alternative options, including full refund on unused tickets and free rebooking to the nearest alternate Etihad Airways destinations.

Anand Malhotra, destination strategist at Travel-Triangle, said that the crisis is not only for Indians willing to travel abroad via Doha, but also for Middle Eastern travellers in July and August.

"A lot of Middle Eastern travellers come to India and travel further to destinations like Sri Lanka and Maldives. We anticipate a fall in that segment. We are evaluating the situation amid cancellations. Qatar had emerged as a premier long-haul destination."


(Image source Stuck at the airport)

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