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The impact of violence on hospitality business following Ram Rahim verdict

Following the verdict against Gurmeet Ram Rahim in a rape case, hotels and restaurants across Punjab and Haryana incurred huge losses running into crores as travellers stayed away fearing the eruption of violence. The Haryana administration had imposed assembly and travel restrictions in parts of the state anticipating trouble after the verdict which was declared on 25th August. A court in Panchkula, near Chandigarh, found him guilty of rape charges against him in a 15-year-old case which sparked violence among the angry followers of the Dera Sacha Sauda chief. 38 people will killed in the state.

Canada and UK issued travel advisories to their citizens who were visiting India on the same day saying further violence could be expected following the conviction of Gurmeet Ram Rahim who was sentenced to 20 years in jail. There was a significant increase in cancellations for the Chandigarh region between 25th Aug to 30th Aug. The cancellations for the flight bookings to Chandigarh tripled and from Chandigarh doubled during the days. Hotels witnessed a 52% spike in booking cancellations for Panchkula, Chandigarh and surrounding areas. The inbound flight bookings from London, Canada and Australia were also hit.

Chandigarh is on enroute to various hill stations such as Manali, Dharamshala and Shimla and there was an increase in cancellations for these destinations with the number of travellers dipping to half due to the violence. There has been a massive impact on the travel and hospitality industry which caused a loss of crores of rupees. Trains and flights were getting cancelled and there was an increasing violence on the roads which caused numerous cancellations across hotels. About 80% of the bookings were cancelled in hotels across Chandigarh and Haryana. The violence has deterred both, leisure and corporate traveller which caused a total slump. The hospitality industry has been hit due to the cancellation of bookings across the region. The image has had an impact on overseas visitors as well. It will be interesting to see how the bookings pan out in the coming days and what turn do the events take.

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