The extended weekend holiday of Diwali spiked travel among Indians with players in the hospitality and tourism sector witnessing a surge in demand.
While domestic destinations such as Goa, Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh and Kerala continue to be popular, short haul international vacations to Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia have also emerged as favourites among many travellers.
“Diwali, Bhai Dooj and Govardhan Puja offer an attractive extended weekend that is propelling travel desire. Our data indicates a strong rebound with our demand pipeline surging by over three times for Diwali versus last year,” Thomas Cook (India) Ltd President & Country Head (Holidays, MICE, Visa) Rajeev Kale said.
As customers make the most of the five to nine days opportunity for a festive vacation with family and friends, he said, “Domestic tourism is clearly on the upswing with the festive season witnessing a forward booking surge of 25 per cent compared to the previous year.” Hospitality and travel-tech firm OYO, citing its ‘Festive Season Report 2022’ said there has been a rise of 108 per cent in demand as against last year during the upcoming Diwali holidays between October 22, 2022.
“Starting with Durga Puja and Dussehra, we already witnessed a healthy rise in booking enquiries by 90-100 per cent for the festive season this year as compared to 2021,” an OYO spokesperson said.
SOTC Travel President & Country Head – Holidays, Daniel D’Souza said pent-up travel desire is driving key demand and customer confidence is at an all-time high and Indians across segments are displaying increased interest to travel to their favourite destinations – domestic and international.
“Customers are keen to utilise the upcoming festive weekend and we have a strong pipeline of customers planning near term travel – booking holidays 7-10 days in advance; (there is) an impressive uptick in last minute bookers by over 70 per cent versus other weekends in October-November period,” he added.
In terms of domestic destinations, Kale said, “Demand is at an all-time high for locations like Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Leh Ladakh, Kerala, Goa, Andaman and the North East, also Rajasthan and Gujarat.”
For OYO, Goa is the top destination with the maximum number of advance bookings for the upcoming Diwali holiday, followed by Lucknow, Hyderabad and Kolkata.
D’Souza also said SOTC has witnessed a high demand for Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan; while Goa and Andamans continue to remain the top beach destinations in the country.
“After the pandemic, the trend which is growing is that of people travelling to remote locations and second and third city, that has continued and this festive season also most of the locations across the country are showing full capacity,” Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) President Pradeep Shetty said.
For international destinations, MakeMyTrip Co-Founder and Group CEO Rajesh Magow said, “We have observed consistent and robust recovery in leisure travel across domestic destinations, as well as across short-haul international destinations in Southeast Asia, UAE, etc.”
Similarly, Kale said, “We are witnessing an uptick for short haul destinations like South East Asia’s Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia with a 30 per cent increase in demand; also Dubai-Abu Dhabi 30 per cent, Maldives 15 per cent and Mauritius 10 per cent.”
Easy visa or no-visa destinations such as countries like Oman that does not require a visa if holding a long term US/Schengen visa, are emerging well, he added.
D’Souza said Vietnam and Cambodia are also emerging as new destinations.
“Australia is witnessing strong demand due to the upcoming (T20 World Cup) cricket fixtures starting October 2022, also this time of the year is the best time to visit the destination,” he added.
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