iconimg Saturday, May 23, 2015

Tushar Srivastava, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, May 21, 2015
Short-haul international destinations seem to be the flavour of the season for Indian leisure travellers this summer. With schools closing down for summer breaks, there is a huge rush for destinations including Macau, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, in addition to traditional domestic favourites like Srinagar, Ladakh and Goa, travel agents and portals said.

"Southeast Asian destinations are bound to be a huge hit since travelling to these countries costs the same, and at times cheaper than many Indian tourist destinations," said Subhash Goyal, president, Indian Association of Tour Operators.

Many foreign airlines are offering rock-bottom fares to attract Indian tourists. Singapore Airlines, for example, is offering all-inclusive return fares to Singapore starting Rs. 22,000 for travel between June 1 and August 10.

"There is a mad rush for Macau and Thailand. A foreign vacation is certainly more attractive, than say, going to Shimla or Srinagar, especially when such attractive fares are available," said Rajji Rai, former president, Travel Agents Association of India.

"While people are still keen to travel to the US, the UK and Europe, the typical travel duration to these places is still at least ten days at an average. But there are places such as Dubai, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia, which are very sought after for a shorter span of three-four days," said Sharat Dhall, president, Yatra.com.

"In fact, lesser-known destinations including Vietnam, Cambodia, Sri Lanka are also gaining ground, and the trend is only going to pick up," Dhall said.