BENGALURU: After more than a year of being cooped up at home, Bengalureans are ready to go just about anywhere. Be it to local spots or international destinations, people are game for them all. As 2021 comes to a close, people are planning year-end vacations. And travel bookings have skyrocketed. In fact, according to reports from online travel company EaseMyTrip, there has been a 450 per cent jump in advance bookings for Christmas week when compared to the same period last year.
For those looking at domestic travel, places like Kashmir, Goa, Leh and Srinagar are top preferences. Travel agents are finding them to have the highest rise in year-end advance bookings. “Maldives and Dubai are the most preferred international destinations. The Middle East is a popular destination this year-end as flights and hotels are running with almost full capacity,” explains Rikant Pittie, co-founder of EaseMyTrip, adding that the Expo 2020 in Dubai is one of the major reasons for the hike.
Travel agents have also seen significant contributors to the growth of travel due to the ongoing wedding season. Pre-pandemic, the average duration of stay was about three days. Now, it is 4 to 5 days. “We’ve been seeing an increased demand for private properties such as villas as customers find them more secure and safe during these unprecedented times,” says Pitte.
Daniel D’souza, president and country head, SOTC Travel company, says that with the onset of the honeymoon season, travel has picked up tremendously. “Egypt and Turkey are often enquired about. With Singapore and Mauritius opening their borders, and the honeymoon season going on, we are seeing an uptick in queries from various segments. In fact, Nepal and Sri Lanka have been garnering interest as well,” he says.
Making this year’s travel plans different are not just travellers but also marathoners. Gauri Jayaram, founder of Active Holiday Company, says, “All the hotel prices are significantly high as we are currently contracting for our 2022 marathon groups. The prices are anything between 30 to 50 per cent more than in 2019.” She adds that corporate events like conferences, events and conventions are back,
causing high demand with limited supply.
For the working class, the hybrid work structure or work-from-home option has been a boon. Travel blogger Tapash Kumar Sahu says that workcations are still trending. “You just need good Wi-Fi and as long as work gets done, you don’t have to worry about leave. Planning such trips around the weekend is the best option,” he says. Airbnb is most preferred these days, says Sahu, adding, “While air travel is good for long distances, wherever possible, driving down in one’s own vehicle is preferred.
This way, you can carry more things, move around from one location to another and feel safe.” For the year-end plans, the blogger points out that though people are travelling to hotspots like Goa, they are still finding private properties to stay at so as to avoid the crowd.