Even as the government keeps its fingers crossed that a large number of tourists will flock to Delhi during the Games, citizens of the Capital are all set for outstation holidays in October. Tour operators say that holiday bookings for the month of October, have, in fact, gone up by 15-20 per cent this year.
“This break is fostering a big travel bug in people. While we cannot put a final number on the bookings yet, the number of queries on holidays during this period are approximately 50-70 per week,” says Karan Anand of travel group Cox & Kings.
Starting October 3, and on till October 14, the Games coincide with Delhi University’s October break (1 to 15) and with the annual Dusshera break of schools. This, coupled with the fact that most offices will also be shut has lead to a windfall in travel bookings.
“Compared to last year, the number of bookings in the autumn season, around the CWG, are a lot higher,” says Richa Goyal Sikri, director, STIC Travel group, adding that Hong Kong is one of the most popular destinations, comprising close to 50 per cent of their overall bookings. “Yes, we have witnessed around a 15 per cent increase in queries for the period around Commonwealth Games. We are hoping that this will increase to a bigger number,” said Keyur Joshi, owner, MakeMyTrip.com.
Though some feel all Delhiites should stay in the Capital to root for the Games, for most families, this is the only opportunity for an annual holiday. “I do want to see the opening ceremony along with my children, but one doesn’t know if that is safe —what with the leaking roofs and all. Besides, it’s a long, two week holiday and it’s ideal for a vacation. So, we’re heading to Kerela,” says Shabnam Singhal, an entrepreneur. “It’s the only time my daughter, husband and I will have vacations at the same time. We’ve been wanting to go to Phuket for so long. I would love to stay and support my city, but I won’t get annual leave again,” says Sonia Khurana, a publisher.
Delhi-based French-designer Berenice Ellena says leaving Delhi was paramount due to the chaos that will ensue in October. “I’m back in France, I had to get away from all that madness,” she wrote to HT City in an email.
Where are they off to?
One of the most popular destinations this season is Hong Kong’s Disneyland. Other popular international destinations include Thailand, Australia and New Zealand and Sri Lanka
From the domestic sector, places such as Vaishno Devi and Shirdi are popular, with Goa, Kerala, Leh, and Uttarakhand also on the list.