Many people want to visit foreign locales: travel agencies

With schools and colleges closing for eight-week holiday, Madurai citizens are busy making plans for their summer vacation in a place that has little to do with rising temperature and is free from the constraints of city life.

While hill stations like Kodaikanal and Ooty were once the most popular destinations for travellers, Kerala in the south and Shimla in the north have emerged as the most preferred places for Maduraiites now.

City travel agents say they have been receiving lots of enquiries for vacations in Munnar, Kottayam and Aleppey in Kerala, and Shimla, Kulu and Manali in Himachal Pradesh.

“Customer enquiries and the number of travellers have increased by 20 per cent this year. We have been getting queries about tour packages for vacations since February, even before the school and board examinations were over,” says B.S.G. Mustafa, proprietor of Meraj Tours and Travel Company.

“Our services include airport pick-up and drop, food, accommodation and documentation, so that the travel becomes a cherished memory,” he adds. Domestic package offered by his firm starts from Rs.15,000 per head inclusive of all services, while international package starts at Rs.25,000 per head, depending on the duration and the destination. Foreign locales such as Dubai, Singapore and even Europe are becoming quite popular among the customers.

The demand for foreign tours has increased manyfold over the last three years, owing to increased exposure to movies, says N. Sriram of Balika Tours and Travels.

With better flight connectivity to countries like Dubai and Sri Lanka, tourism in the city has witnessed a boom.

In fact, international passengers outnumber domestic travellers, say travel agents.

“Since we have toured almost all tourist spots in India, we decided to visit Dubai this year. It was an amazing experience for the entire family. The vacation gave the much-needed break for everyone,” says N.N. Ganesan, a resident of K.K. Nagar.

“Be it middle class or upper class families, every one must make it a point to embark on a foreign tour to spend quality time with loved ones at least once in a year. Rather than shelling out thousands of rupees for a domestic tour, one could make a foreign trip,” he suggests. Agents say though a major chunk of travellers comprise families, government and corporate employees also go on tours to exhaust their leave travel allowance. Even schools approach travel operators with queries about international tour packages, they add.

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