The gloom that grips tourist hubs during the monsoon in India seems to be fading away.
A three-fold rise in holiday bookings during the traditional ‘off season’ of July to September has taken travel companies by surprise. “The past few years have witnessed a dip in travel bookings as the four monsoon months are considered lean. However, it can be observed this year that rains have not acted as a deterrent for travellers,” said Rajesh Magow, co-founder and chief executive officer, India ,with travel portal MakeMyTrip.
Magow said the portal recorded 2.8 times rise in bookings, including an 85% spike in international trips.
Other travel operators reported similar trends. Karan Anand, head relationships with Cox and Kings Ltd, said, “Heavy rainfall offers its own charm for travellers. More than sightseeing, tourists like to enjoy the weather.”
“Usually, the monsoon is considered as ‘off-season’ for these places but many Mumbaiites have booked trips much before the monsoon season i.e. in April-May. There is an around 40% rise in the number of enquires, which is the highest in the recent past,” he said.
Expedia, another travel portal that recorded a 25% spike in monsoon travel bookings observed a new trend of tourists flocking to quaint resorts nestled amid plantations.
“This monsoon, many couples and solo travellers are taking the opportunity to wander through plantations that also have accommodation. These plantations are ideal for those who want to forget the busy world they have left behind,” said Manmeet Ahluwalia, marketing head, Expedia (India).
While hill stations in Karnataka’s Coorg district, with its tea plantations, have become a monsoon destination, Kumily in Kerala draws tourists to its spice plantations, he added.
Monsoon vacations are also cheaper. “If you are travelling in the off season, you can get up to 20-30% discounts on the packages. Travellers can also take advantage of special offers,” added Anand.
Some travellers like the monsoon because places are less crowded. Thane resident Abhay Vichare chose a trip to the Sikkim and Meghalay in August because it is less “touristy” around this time of the year. “Me and my wife, Nimisha avoid crowded places for vacations. So we prefer travelling during off seasons,” said the software professional.