Leisure Destinations: Indian leisure destinations are all the rage this summer

Robert Roffulo

New Delhi: While it might be a bit cumbersome to plan international trips and bookings given the delays in visas for markets such as Europe, domestic travel — across flights, train and hotel bookings — in India is surging. Aditya Gupta, senior vice-president, hotels and holidays at Yatra.com, said a […]

New Delhi: While it might be a bit cumbersome to plan international trips and bookings given the delays in visas for markets such as Europe, domestic travel — across flights, train and hotel bookings — in India is surging.

Aditya Gupta, senior vice-president, hotels and holidays at Yatra.com, said a “renewed” sense of travel optimism can now be witnessed in the travel industry and the company is seeing growth across segments including flights, hotels, buses and railways. “We expect further growth during the upcoming holiday season. Moreover, our business travel is also seeing significant growth with corporations opening up. There is high confidence in travel,” he added.

Booking.com said if current trends continue, the company could see a record summer travel season. It hit a record in the first quarter globally — customers
booked $27 billion in gross bookings, the highest quarterly amount ever (the previous record was $25 billion in quarter one of 2019). April 2022 marked the first month that global room nights exceeded 2019 levels.

“With more and more travel restrictions being lifted and the world opening again, we continue to see strength in our summer booking trends, in India as well as globally. We are seeing positive signs of people wanting to get back to travel with travellers making up for trips they didn’t manage to take for the last two years,” said Ritu Mehrotra, commercial director-APAC at Booking.com. “While metros like New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, and Kolkata continue to be some of the most booked destinations on our platform, leisure destinations such as Manali, Rishikesh, Darjeeling, Ooty, Mysore, Kochi and Goa were also popular amongst Indian travellers looking for a summer getaway,” she added.

Aloke Bajpai, group CEO and cofounder of Ixigo said two years of pent-up demand for summer travel has spurred an increase in summer trips. He said the company saw a considerable rise in travel queries for all modes — air, train and bus — in May this year as compared to April. “Search queries for air travel saw an average month-on-month increase of 25-30%, while train search queries increased by 35-40% across popular routes. Some popular destinations booked for summer travel via flights in May were Andaman & Nicobar, Goa, Srinagar and Madurai,” he added. Rohit Sharma, chief operating officer of AbhiBus, said apart from the metros, some of the other preferred
bus destinations for summer travel this year are Goa and Manali, which have seen a 42% and a 72% month on month increase in search queries.

As per industry tracker STR, the running 7-day ADR (average daily rate) for India’s hotels started crossing pre-pandemic levels since mid-April and continues to remain robust.

“Business demand has shown significant improvement post Omicron with momentum accelerating in late April and early May. Bengaluru and Pune, cities that are reliant on this segment historically were some of the most impacted by the lack of business demand, but are now among the markets showing the fastest demand growth. Mumbai recorded upwards of 80% occupancy on almost all days in April 2022,” said Karan Mahesh, STR’s account manager for Central and South Asia.

He said hotels in markets such as Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand have managed to at least double the rates compared to 2019.

Nikhil Sharma, regional director for Eurasia at Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, said the portfolio of hotels in India has surpassed 2019 figures for May and year to date, with 10% higher occupancy in May compared to 2019.

Zubin Saxena, managing director and VP, operations, South Asia at the Radisson Hotel Group, said the company saw a strong summer demand in India in May, with occupancies trending upwards of 70% across the chain. “Corporate travel has shown a strong resurgence with MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) and MSME bookings picking up pace, especially in tier-1 and tier-2 cities like Bengaluru, Pune, Mumbai, Goa and Chennai. With the advent of school vacations, we also witnessed an increase in footfalls across leisure destinations like Mussoorie, Dharamshala, Lonavala, and Vishakhapatnam,” he said. “We expect leisure travelers to lead bookings in June as well. It is an important month for big Indian weddings with many auspicious dates. We are positive about sustaining the occupancy levels in the coming months,” he added.

Vipul Prakash, COO at MakeMyTrip, said May witnessed a surge in demand for both, hotels and homestays across the country. On the domestic front, travellers were seen vacationing in Goa, Mysore, Rishikesh and Manali, while on the international travel front, Dubai, Phuket, Bangkok and the Maldives remain perennial favourites for leisure travellers this summer season. “In June, we hope to see an uptick in family travel as people will head out for vacations with kids and larger groups during the summer school break,” he added.

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/services/travel/indian-leisure-destinations-are-all-the-rage-this-summer/articleshow/91971329.cms

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