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Witnessing clear uptick in international travel, say experts

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According to data from EaseMyTrip and ClearTrip, current bookings are 50 percent higher compared to the January to March period.

International travel has seen steady growth this year, with countries relaxing restrictions and reopening their borders. According to data from EaseMyTrip and ClearTrip, current bookings are 50 percent higher compared to the January to March period.
Data also shows that passenger air traffic under the Vande Bharat Mission posted a sequential rise of 30 percent for September. That is aligned with data recorded on Sunday which showed the domestic air traffic count at over 3.27 lakhs, which is just shy of the traffic count during the pre-COVID period.
In fact, for Diwali, which is in the first week of November, forward bookings are 450 percent higher compared to Diwali last year. Kapil Kaul, CEO of the Indian subcontinent division at CAPA, in an interview with CNBC-TV18's Shereen Bhan said, air traffic in H2FY22 has been encouraging but with current fare caps in place, it is not possible to have a recovery to pre-COVID levels.
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Kaul said, "Air traffic recovery particularly in the second half of the fiscal has been very encouraging and positive. We expect the upside to continue both for domestic and international. For October, we are averaging around 2,75,000-3,00,000 passengers which is still 30 percent below the second half average or a yearly average of 4,00,000 passengers. So it is good that we are moving towards 70-80 percent plus category for domestic."
"October onwards, it is going to be busy and you may have a small dip in November. But in December, it will pick up again. So trends look positive for domestic. However, if we are expecting the recovery to continue to pre-COVID levels, then with the fare caps it is not feasible to expect recovery to pre-COVID levels. So till you continue to have fare caps, expecting the recovery to pre-COVID levels is not feasible I think," he said.
Vipul Prakash, chief operating officer of MakeMyTrip said, Indians are waiting for Thailand and Indonesia to open up for travel, "if Asian countries open up, then it will be a bumper December travel season."
He said, "There is a very clear uptick on travel platforms. The two destinations which have been favourites for the last many months have been Dubai and Maldives. We are definitely seeing an uptick for Europe. In the last month or so, a lot of people are willing to go there in November-December. "
Prakash said there is a lot of pent-up demand for the US as the county has announced the opening of the borders from November 8, "The ones which Indian’s are waiting for would be places like Thailand, Indonesia and Sri Lanka as these are winter destinations. So the next one month is going to be extremely interesting and if Asian countries open up then we are going to have a bumper December and January."
Pranav Sinha, head of South Asia at VFS Global said, the company is seeing encouraging signs for travel to international locations from India.
"With the easing of travel restrictions, international borders are opening up, people are getting vaccinated in India and all these are encouraging factors for travel to international locations increasing from India. Generally, June to September is a period for students to apply for their student visa and travel overseas to most of the countries. We have seen a steady rise in these applications going higher. So it is definitely in the positive trend-forward," he said.
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