Downturn over, Delhiites loosen their purse strings and turn footloose
With the economy showing strong signs of recovery, Delhiites tired of what they call ‘homecationing’, are going on holidays in droves, reports Manoj Sharma.delhi Updated: Dec 16, 2009 01:23 IST
Bhupeshwar Dayal, 34, a corporate lawyer, calls himself a ‘compulsive traveller,’ — one who cannot do without at least two holidays in a year.
In the past one year, he has had to put his holiday plans on hold, thanks to the economic meltdown that led to a sharp decline in his earnings.
But last month, Dayal finally booked a trip to Munnar in Kerala.
“Last month, I got my first fat cheque after a year. So, the time for ‘homecation’ is over. This Christmas, I am going to Kerala with my wife; and then I am off to Australia in January,” said Dayal.
Neetu Gupta, 35, an IT professional who cancelled a trip to the northeast last year, will be spending the New Year’s eve in Arunachal Pradesh.
“Although we go on vacations every year, last year we thought it would not be prudent to spend money on travel. But this year, I will fulfill my dream of visiting the northeast,” she said.
With the economy showing strong signs of recovery, Delhiites tired of what they call ‘homecationing’, are going on holidays in droves.
Travel agencies and tour operators say there is a surge in bookings for New Year and Christmas.
“There is a dramatic rise in travel bookings, as compared to the last holiday season in May and June. In fact, the bookings have gone up 45 per cent. Delhi is leading the recovery for us, as a large chunk of our bookings are from Delhi and NCR,” said Amit Sabharwal, vice-president, business development, makemytrip.com.
With the economy showing signs of recovery, Sabharwal said his company had anticipated this demand and pre-committed seats on airlines in October.
Neelu Singh, COO, ezeego1.com, said, “There is about 70 per cent increase in our bookings from Delhi this year. Unlike last year, when people were looking for budget travel, this year people are going for high-value bookings. It’s because of the easing of financial worries,” she said.
The spurt in bookings has led to the hotels and airlines, which were offering huge discounts until a few months ago, revising their rates.
“Business has improved considerably. In fact, hotel tariffs and airfares have gone up 15-20 per cent in the past one month. As always, Delhi is the hottest destination for inbound tourists, too,” said Arjun Sharma, senior vice-president, Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), and managing director, Le Passage to India Travels and Tours.
So, where are Delhiites headed? Thailand and Malaysia are the favourite foreign destinations. Within the country, apart from Goa and Kerala, Andaman Islands are on top of the travel itinerary.