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Let’s go out

Holidays are here, and everyone is in a mood to soak in the outdoors. For almost two years, domestic and national tourism was at a standstill.

Published: 07th May 2022 06:43 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th May 2022 06:43 AM   |  A+A-

Illustration: Express

Express News Service

KOCHI:  Holidays are here, and everyone is in a mood to soak in the outdoors. For almost two years, domestic and national tourism was at a standstill. Now, with the Covid restrictions eased, Keralites are busy exploring destinations across the country and beyond. Travel operators say there has been an increase in the number of bookings and enquiries this season.

Booking.com, a popular travel and hospitality platform, recently released Travel Predictions 2022 Research, which stated that 83% of the Indian travellers are looking to go on a vacation if their budget allows while 65% would travel if the destination suits their preferences.

The platform also highlighted that this summer would mark the return of travel post-pandemic. User search trends on Booking.com put beach and mountain destinations on top of the list of most-preferred vacation spots in the country. Goa, Srinagar, Manali, Ooty and Rishikesh are the preferred locations alongside metros like Bengaluru, Mumbai and New Delhi for Indian travellers between April 1 and June 30.

Northern states favoured
Tour operators claim Jammu and Kashmir is favoured by most Malayali travellers this summer. Many backpackers are already back from a solo vacation in the hills while others will head there soon with family or friends.

“This is the right time to enjoy Kashmir. It was a much-awaited trip for me and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Rates were affordable and I went with an all-women travel group. I think travelling has become more affordable than the previous years,” said Meenu V R, a government employee, who recently went to Jammu and Kashmir. Meenu said though she travelled during off-season, Jammu was crowded with tourists from all over India.

Apart from Jammu and Kashmir, other north and northeastern destinations are also being preferred by travellers. Vineet Sanjeev, an IT employee from Kochi, is thrilled about his next week’s trip. He will be covering much of northeast India over two weeks.

“I will be touching Guwahati, Kohima, Imphal, Aizawl, Shillong, Chiranpunji, and if time permits Agartala. I’ve been planning this trip since 2020. It will be nice to finally strike it off my to-do list,” he says.

Maldives gets popular 
Like Jammu and Kashmir, Maldives is also welcoming many Malayali tourists, especially honeymooners, this season. “Malayalis are preferring hill stations this summer. Though international travel just resumed after the pandemic, many bookings are being made to Maldives already,” said Anish Kumar P K, CEO of The Travel Planners. “Within the state, Malayalis are travelling to Wayanad and Ooty as opposed to Munnar and Thekkady, which were on demand before the pandemic,” he added.

Slow and steady
Though travel and tourism sector have resumed, travel agents claim the growth is slow. Air ticket prices have increased by at least 50% lately owing to high demand. “We think it will take another two years for the sector to revive fully and tourism to return to its former glory. Now, since schools are also closed, ticket prices are very high. Earlier, huge groups from Kerala used to head to Gulf countries during summer. But this year, very few of those trips have happened,” said K V Muraleedharan, state secretary of the Kerala Travel Agents Association. He also added that foreign airlines are charging exorbitant rates, which is forcing people to look for destinations within the country.

  • After two ‘stay at home’ summers, Malayalis are ready to get out and explore the world this year
  • Travellers from the state are heading northern states and even locations outside the country like Maldives this season

Research shows
Around 83% of the Indian travellers are looking to go on a vacation if their budget allows, says the Travel Predictions 2022 research by Booking.com, a popular travel and hospitality platform. Around 65% would travel if the destination suits their preferences.



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