Happy Holi cheer for domestic travel! Goa emerges as the most booked destination, followed by Delhi, Jaipur, hill stations

Happy Holi cheer for domestic travel! Goa emerges the most booked destination, followed by Delhi, Jaipur, hill stations

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Happy Holi vibes in the air! Indian travelers are the keenest to plan their future travel, American Express has shared in its recently released Global Travel Trends Report.

Not only are Indians daydreaming about their travel plans but there is a clear surge of travelers to enjoy the festive Holi weekend. Not just in metro cities but tier II and tier III cities are witnessing a sharp spike in travel demand for the Holi weekend as people look forward to visiting their hometowns and catch up with loved ones.

Hotels in hill stations such as Lansdowne, Nainital, Kasauli, Mussoorie, Shimla, and Nature centric destinations such as Jim Corbett are almost fully booked for the long Holi weekend. There is a clear preference for domestic travel as festive celebrations are now muted and people do not want to stay at home on festive occasions and long weekends.

However, RateGain finds that bookings have declined to around 18 percent due to the following factors:

Financial year ending: Since it’s the end of the financial year, people are busy with their closings.

Exams: Another factor is exams due to which families are not traveling

COVID: Cases are increases therefore people are trying to avoid traveling

While places like Mashobra (225%), Bharuch (139%), and Thiruvananthapuram (100%) witnessed a spike in bookings, RateGain claims a sharp decline in bookings for Pondicherry, Delhi-NCR, Lucknow, and Pune, among other cities.

Holi long weekend: Which Indian cities are seeing more travelers?

Rajiv Subramanian, Vice President, Cleartrip tells Financial Express Online, ” Broadly the trend of ‘going back home’ is reasonably strong on account of Holi/Good Friday.

This is explained by sectors like Guwahati, Bagdogra, and Patna seeing an increase in traffic with a lot of last-minute bookings. Meanwhile, routes from major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, and Hyderabad to Goa continue to feature in the top routes. Srinagar is another airport that has seen interest with routes between Mumbai-Srinagar and Delhi-Srinagar featuring in the top 10 routes. With summer vacations approaching, demand is expected to see a strong surge assuming the current demand uncertainty tapers out.”

Holi weekend travel trends: What does the increased demand mean for ticketing platforms?

Financial Express Online spoke to leading stakeholders in the travel industry to curate their views on the emerging travel trends for the long Holli weekend and the Good Friday weekend.

Sripad Vaidya, Co-Founder & COO, Confirmtkt told Financial Express Online, “While ticketing platforms see an overall increase of 20,000 bookings per day, on our platform, we have witnessed a spike of overall 650 bookings per day for the upcoming Holi – long weekend. Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore are some of the places from where bookings have been coming in as people plan to move back to their hometowns (Tier II & III cities), and places like Pushkar, Goa, Mathura/Vrindavan received the most traction being popular for Holi celebrations.”

Travel trends for Holi weekend: Which is the top leisure destination?

Sharing more details on the top domestic destinations and accommodation types booked by Indian travelers from March 27, 2021, to April 4, 2021, to celebrate Holi and Easter holidays, Booking.com has revealed that Goa has emerged as the most booked destination, followed by New Delhi, Jaipur, Rishikesh and Mumbai for the same period.

Besides hotel bookings, most travelers are opting for resorts, guest houses, and homestays as well. Booking.com has also rolled out its ‘Early 2021 Deal’ for select properties. This means that travelers can save 20% or more, according to Booking.com’s latest press release.

Top booked accommodation types by Indian travelers.

According to the booking data shared by Booking.com, the top 5 accommodation lists for the Holi and Easter weekends are as follows:

Guest House

Meanwhile, American Express recently released its comprehensive Global Travel Trends Report, which offers unique insights pertaining to traveler sentiments one year after the lockdown and the pandemic began. The report spans seven countries including India.

Holi weekend travel trends: Pent up travel demand, Indians keen to plan future travel

According to American Express Banking Corp. India’s CEO & SVP, Manoj Adlakha, “The Amex Trendex shows pent up travel demand and behaviors that are somewhat unique to the Indian market, with 91 percent Indian respondents interested in choosing a trip that supports the local community, showing their understanding of the impact of the pandemic on the travel industry. Indians are the keenest to plan for future travel.”

Notably, American Express Banking Corp. India revamped their airport lounge in Delhi to make value enhancements that are significant for their Platinum Card product holders and to ensure best-in-class access as well as experience to their Cardmembers.

While travel trends and an uptick in demand pose an almost rosy picture, one year after the lockdown, India’s tourism and hospitality industry underwent its bleakest phase.

Holi travel trends: All is still not well for travel and tourism

At the recently concluded BITB conclave attended by over 150 delegates and key stakeholders spanning the travel and tourism industry, the Hotel Association of India (HAI) highlighted the need to make tourism more viable, accessible, and sustainable for all to revert back on track of recovery.

Highlighting the need for the private sector and the state governments to work together for the revival of the domestic tourism sector, HAI emphasized the need for focused efforts to ease domestic travel with specific measures such as integrated taxation policy, additional taxation relief to promote tourism, provide institutional access to working capital that will defer loan repayments for all segments and enable liquidity as well, among other things.

With Holi and Good Friday weekends indicating a clear surge in domestic travel, the silver lining is that Indian travelers are now keen to support local communities. May the tribe of such travelers continue to responsibly grow!

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