Business travellers and tourists are avoiding New Delhi, as air pollution in India's capital reached record levels, travel agents said.
Booking inquiries for hotels and flights to New Delhi have slumped since the Hindu festival of Diwali on October 27, said Sharat Dhall, chief operating officer of the business-to-consumer segment at Yatra Online.
Bursting of firecrackers as part of the festivities worsened pollution caused by farm stubble burning in areas around the capital city.
Business travellers are looking to reschedule their visits to a later date, Dhall said in an email, adding that tourists are preferring Himalayan hill stations and destinations in the state of Rajasthan, home to the Thar desert, over New Delhi, famous for the 12th-century Qutab Minar and the Red Fort, built in the 17th century.
Pollution levels in New Delhi surged to more than three times of what's considered hazardous over the weekend, increasing the risk of stroke, heart disease and lung cancer.