The travel industry in Qatar has reported a drop in passenger traffic as several companies have cut down business trips and more people tend to postpone their travel plans on the back of the global meltdown.
The industry has also reported a rise in the number of one-way tickets issued recently for workers leaving the country, hinting at a possible increase in staff lay-offs by companies.
An official from a leading Asian airline company told The Peninsula yesterday that demand for tickets had dropped by 15 to 20 percent over the past two months, compared to the same period last year. “January and February are normally lean months for the industry, but this time the traffic has come down further. It seems people are delaying or canceling their trips due to the uncertainty created by the financial crisis,” said the official.
Sources from a leading travel agency also said their business was affected. “We have seen about 10 percent drop in ticket sales compared to last year. The demand was very low in January but it is picking up now. A clear picture would be available by next month when people start bookings for the summer holidays,” said a marketing executive.
He said many companies are cutting down business trips abroad, as a fallout to the financial crisis. “This has an impact on the market,” he said.
Another recent trend in the market is a noticeable rise in the number of one-way tickets issued for workers. “Most of such tickets are bought by companies on behalf of their workers. However, we cannot say for sure whether these workers are leaving the country for good,” said the executive.
Industry sources, however, said they had not noticed a similar rise in the number of families leaving the country during this season.
“There can be an increase in their number ahead of the summer holidays. However, only a few people have started bookings for the holidays,” said an airlines official. Meanwhile, air fares to all destinations have come down by 20 to 30 percent, offering one of the best fares in the past several years. This can trigger more demand in the market in the days to come, said a travel agent.
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