It’s summer, and most travel restrictions imposed in the past two years due to COVID have been lifted. As travel curbs go, Indian travel websites say more and more Indians are planning to vacation overseas. And they are not booking well in advance, as was a given before the pandemic.
“We have witnessed a sharp increase in inquiries for international destinations such as the UAE, Maldives, Thailand, and the United States. There is also a growing trend for last-minute bookings as people are aware of new pandemic waves,” Rikant Pittie, co-founder, EaseMyTrip, told CNBC-TV18, adding this trend is set to grow in the summer months.
Pittie said the trend of revenge travel continues to drive the international travel industry, “particularly because of the uncertainty that comes with these unprecedented times”.
“For the summer months, we noticed a nearly 30 percent increase in advanced air ticket bookings for international travel. Of these, nearly 40 percent of travellers opted for flexible air ticket bookings and cancellation policies. Our numbers have crossed the December 2021 pre-third wave levels, and the resumption of international travel will only aid the growth,” Pittie said.
According to Cleartrip, too, Indians are more likely to visit the UAE, Maldives, and Thailand internationally during the summer travel season.
“Since the resumption of scheduled international flight operations from March 27, we have seen a steady increase in bookings. International bookings have increased by 80 percent since January 2022,” a Cleartrip spokesperson told CNBC-TV18. “After two years of disruptions, travel has a positive sentiment, and the next two to three years are set to witness a dramatic shift in travel trends.”
A Yatra.com spokesperson said the platform witnessed interest from travellers for Maldives, Dubai, Thailand, Bali, and Europe. Yatra also pointed to a new wave of optimism for domestic travel with a spike in bookings and queries by 25 percent to destinations such as Ladakh, Uttarakhand, Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and the northeast. EaseMyTrip also saw a 30 percent jump in domestic bookings for summer.
The Cleartrip spokesperson said consumers were planning weddings at popular destinations to make it an affair to remember. "We expect the next wedding season to be robust," the spokesperson said.
“Moreover, owing to the new travel trends paving their way in, there is a rise in travellers keen on taking big-bucket trips with friends, family, and partners for honeymoon and leisure travel,” the Yatra.com spokesperson said.
Pittie shared similar trends. “Travellers are engaging in ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ trips, which has led to many opting for vacations in luxury 4-5 star hotels and destinations. We have also witnessed an increase in inquiries for sustainable travel wherein customers are opting to visit destinations adopting sustainable practices, especially when it comes to protecting the environment and supporting the local economy.”
First Published: IST