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.
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.
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.
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.