Rush to leisure destinations likely over Diwali weekend

Thomas Cook (India) Ltd expects the long weekend comprising Diwali, Bhai Dooj and Govardhan Puja, to see travel demand triple from a year earlier. According to the company, India’s tourism industry is seeing a surge in demand during the 5-9 days of travel opportunities around the holiday season.

“Diwali is an important festival and migrant professionals return to their hometowns to celebrate Diwali with their families,” said Rajeev Kale, President and Head of Country, Holidays, MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions), Visa, Thomas Cook (India). ).

Domestic travel demand saw a 25% increase in forward bookings compared to the previous year, mainly for destinations such as Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh, Kerala, Goa, Andamans, Rajasthan, Gujarat and the North East. There is a 15-20% increase for outdoor adventure camping, cycling trips, trekking and private villa stays, the company said. For Thomas Cook, short-haul overseas destinations like Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Indonesia are also seeing a 30% increase in demand.

SOTC Travel, a shrinking subsidiary of Thomas Cook, sees holiday bookings 7-10 days in advance and a more than 70% increase in last minute bookings for the Diwali long weekend compared to others weekends from October to November.

“Indians across all segments are showing increased interest in traveling to their preferred destinations, both domestic and international. Customers are keen to take advantage of the festive weekend ahead and we have a strong pipeline of customers planning short-term trips. Our demand trends indicate a jump of more than 100% from pre-pandemic levels in some markets for winter and holiday season travel, and our advance booking position appears healthy. We are about 55% recovered from our October to December period compared to 2019,” said Daniel D’Souza, President and National Head, Vacations, SOTC Travel.

Travel technology solutions provider RateGain, which processes electronic transactions for travel and hospitality businesses, saw a 15% increase in bookings for the week of Diwali compared to the year-ago period, and an increase of around 10% compared to the corresponding period in 2019. People are watching destinations like Goa, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan, RateGain added.

Leisure Hotels Group, which operates hotels in Nainital, Naukuchiatal, Bhimtal, Jim Corbett National Park, Rishikesh, Haridwar, Varanasi and Kausani, said it recorded 60% occupancy over the holiday weekend.

Tarun Tahiliani, country manager of travel search platform Kayak India, said higher airfares were not deterring Indian tourists from traveling to domestic and overseas destinations during Diwali. “National search information suggests that October 21 will be the busiest day at airports during the festive Diwali period, so those hoping for a smooth navigation to their destination may prefer to depart on a slightly earlier date. sooner or later.”

According to flight search data, the top five most searched destinations during Diwali are New Delhi, Goa, Mysore, Mumbai and Port Blair (Andaman and Nicobar Islands).

Vikramjit Singh, chairman of Lemon Tree Hotels, said his resorts in Goa, Alleppey, Udaipur, Coorg and Rishikesh, among others, are expected to be fully booked over the long weekend.

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