Tuesday, 4 September 2012

‘Online tour booking to Manali not a trusted way’

Delhi agents dupe Manali tourists on name of online booking: Local agents
Himachal Vacation Travel News
MANALI: Hundreds of travel websites and web portals to sell Manali tour packages online, most of them unregistered and being operated from Delhi, have taken away the work of local operators in Manali. The increasing trend of online booking has created opportunity for hundreds of cheaters to build the fake websites and cheat the tourists. 
Tourists make online booking to Manali without meeting their travel agent
Over 1,000 websites are selling Manali tour packages online and most of them are Delhi based. According to sources, more than 25% websites and travel companies are unregistered. Many websites do not have mentioned any contact details. Not only the online travel management system has snatched the work of thousands of old agents but has also given rise to incidents of tourist frauds. The internet has flooded with hundreds of such complaints from tourists visiting Manali.
Delhi being the main gateway to Manali for 20 lakh domestic and foreign tourists annually, tour and travel operators in Delhi have good control over the tourists. Almost all travel agents in Delhi have built their own website and Manali is a must visit spot in all of them. Sources say many websites are being operated from other places, even from villages and small towns, but tourists would not have any idea of this.
“90% tourists who visit Manali after booking their tour online are not satisfied with the services,” claims Manali travel agents association president Anil Sharma. He said all the websites claim to be the best one and each of them would convince their customers that they are the professional but reality is quite different.
Mayank and Reena, tourists from Indore, tell their story that how they are cheated by a travel agent who claimed to be one of the best tour operators in Delhi. “We found his website on internet and left an email. Our all conversation was through email. We deposited the booking amount in given bank account. We had paid for luxury services and hotel. When we reached Manali, we were offered the worst hotel and no one was available to guide us. We have our train from Delhi on Tuesday but taxi driver refused to drop us at Delhi as he has not been paid by our agent,” Mayank said.
Some Delhi based companies have ties ups with local service providers in Manali who take care of all their needs. But most of the small scale operators control everything from their office or home. “Sometime tourists deposit advance money and fail to contact his agent. They get their booking in cheap hotels instead of star category. None of the promises, as shown on website, are being fulfilled. Online booking through various websites is at its best but its negative impacts would lose the trust of tourists soon,” Sharma said.

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