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Short-haul international trips are all the rage

Getaway time: Stakeholders say that advance bookings for the Deepavali week have gone up by 450%. File   | Photo Credit: B. Velankanni Raj

While most countries cherished by Indian tourists continue to shut their doors on them 18 months into the COVID-19 pandemic, many are turning to alternatives closer home to indulge their cravings for foreign travel.

Dubai and the Maldives, which emerged as the two topmost foreign destinations for Indians since the pandemic, have further consolidated their position this travel season as more people are willing to venture out and travel demand is at an all-time high in 18 months.

Search enquiries for luxury holidays like the Maldives and Dubai have seen an incredible growth of more than 100% for the month of October this year as compared to the same time last year, according to data shared by travel portal ixigo.

In fact, search enquiries for the two destinations have surpassed pre-COVID-19 levels by 70%, says ixigo.

An increased preference for either domestic or short-haul destinations is not just true for India, but globally. And this could well be the trend for the near future.

According to a survey conducted by global travel technology company Amadeus of 9,000 respondents from nine countries, 77% of travellers surveyed agreed they would travel within the next one year and that they would prefer to travel to a destination close to their home country, rather than travelling further afield.

Confines of Asia

Indians said they would prefer to travel within Asia, Singaporeans too said they were keen to stay within Asia (excluding Middle-East), Spanish, British and German travellers wanted to remain within Europe and the U.S. travellers within North America.

“International travel restrictions, visa rules, as well as quarantine and testing requirements are some of the factors that may have prompted Indian travellers to focus on domestic and intra-regional travel for now. That said, in recent weeks we have seen more countries around the world looking to ease restrictions and requirements, especially for vaccinated travellers,” says Mani Ganeshan, Asia Pacific R&D Head, Amadeus Labs.

“Advance bookings for the Deepavali week have seen a jump of around 450% when compared to last year,” says Prashant Pitti, co-founder, EaseMyTrip.

“Apart from the Maldives and Dubai, nearby destinations like Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan too are gaining traction with recent search trends indicating a surge of around 30% in the last month. Domestically, people are making the most of long weekends where bookings are up by nearly 60% such as during Dasara. Bookings to and from cities such as Kolkata, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Delhi and Gujarat have witnessed a rise between 50%-70% and tourist destinations such as Kashmir, Leh and Rajasthan have also witnessed a rise in bookings,” says Mr. Pitti.

Charter planes

While there is a surge in demand for air travel, there is no let-up in the demand for charter planes from the uber rich, says Sachit Wadhwa, co-founder, BookMyCharters.

“Booking enquiries are 12-13 times of what we saw pre-COVID. The travel sentiment is quite high and we already have bookings for December and January. There is also a demand for wedding charters from November to January,” Mr. Wadhwa tells The Hindu.


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Printable version | Nov 29, 2021 12:46:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/short-haul-international-trips-are-all-the-rage/article37143994.ece

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