More Indians travel during Dussehra weekend; portals expect surge during Diwali

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With passenger capacity being restored, passengers have once again begun to utilise the long weekends. According to various travel web portals, the Dussehra long weekend has seen a high surge of travel demand by at least 60%. Domestic destinations that are in demand during this long weekend are Leh-Ladakh, Kashmir, Rajasthan, Goa, Uttarakhand, Andaman.

As travel restrictions are at ease now, the industry is seeing an upsurge in travel bookings, particularly for leisure travel or visiting hometowns. As a result of this, portals unanimously said they are seeing a surge in the demand for air travel bookings and they are hoping that the demand continues to grow throughout Diwali week.

“Especially for Mumbai and New Delhi, there is a sharp uptick in bookings. Also, due to the increase in demand, flight rates have gone up but there are a lot of offers like EzCancel (powered by Cleartrip) which offers full refunds on flight cancellation only at a minimal charge and fuelling demand in part as it empowers the customers,” said Prahlad Krishnamurti, chief business officer, Cleartrip. As travel restrictions have eased following the pandemic, demand for rental cars has also increased.


“The bookings are mainly from Tier 1 cities, such as Delhi and Bangalore. While the lockdown forced people to stay at home, there is a pent-up demand for travel and we are seeing people renting premium/luxury cars to have a comfortable and luxurious experience,” said Sunil Gupta, managing director and chief executive officer (CEO), Avis India.

A MakeMyTrip spokesperson said that they are seeing strong demand for hotels and homestays during the upcoming long weekend of Dussehra with many opting for a quick weekend getaway to the hills or to the beaches of Goa and Pondicherry.

“On MakeMyTrip, advance bookings for the upcoming festive season have touched 75% of pre-Covid levels. While travel bookings to visit friends and relatives have seen significant traction over the past few weeks, leisure travel continues to see a month-on-month recovery. Some of the most preferred destinations include Goa, Jaipur, Udaipur, Rishikesh, Shimla, Mussoorie, Lonavala, Puri, Manali, Nainital, Pondicherry, Coorg, Amritsar and Ooty,” the spokesperson added.

Thomas Cook is witnessing an acceleration in demand from not just Indians going back to their home stations to celebrate but increasingly from millennials/working professionals, multi-generational family units and ad hoc groups of friends, making the most of an opportune mini-vacation.

“Domestic travel is witnessing an unprecedented surge for us, not just in demand but in bookings – upward of 5x versus the same period last year,” said Rajeev Kale, president and country head at Holidays, MICE, Visa-Thomas Cook (India).

“The upcoming extended weekend is witnessing brisk demand for Goa, Andamans and new entrants like North East, Rajasthan, Kerala, Gujarat etc. Drivecations to destinations like Pondicherry, Coorg, Ooty, Pondicherry, Shimla, Manali, Jaipur, Mussoorie are popular but what is noteworthy is the strong resurgence in air-inclusive holidays, signalling the return of confidence for air travel,” Kale said.

SOTC said that it is seeing a 60-70% increase in demand for weekends. “There is high demand for reunion travel and interest in private tours, villa stays, and boutique properties. Multi-generational family groups are opting for eclectic accommodations such as colonial bungalows, plantation villas (coffee/tea estates), heritage properties and palaces. While micro-trips continue to be a rising travel trend, especially with Gen Z and millennials, to escape their ever hectic work from home schedules with a quick getaway. Gen Z and millennials are displaying a strong inclination to explore offbeat experiences such as bike trips and staycations with a group of friends,” said Daniel D’souza, president and country head, SOTC Travel.

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