Leisure trip bookings for next week – the first long weekend of the year -- have witnessed a double digit spike, said tour operators. Republic Day (January 26) falls on a Thursday, giving many a chance to plan a trip.
Travel operator Cox & Kings Ltd, for instance, saw up to a 25% rise in bookings, compared to the same period last year. In 2016, the public holiday fell on a Tuesday, when travel companies noticed a similar trend. “Most of them availing of the long weekend trips are people who have double income and no kids, youngsters and groups of friends planning a holiday together,” said Karan Anand, head, relationships, Cox & Kings Ltd.
“Less-travelled destinations are most preferred. Along with domestic circuits, we have seen bookings for Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and Taiwan,” said Manmeet Ahluwalia, marketing head of Expedia, a travel portal, which recorded a 37% year-on-year growth.
Itineraries high on adventure also saw significant bookings. “One of the activities gaining traction is the Chadar trek that commences in January, wherein one has to walk along the frozen Zanskar River in the Zanskar Valley. Ladakh’s snow leopard trails in the Rumbak Valley or Hemis National Park attracts a lot of adventure enthusiasts,” said Neelu Singh, chief executive officer and director with travel portal Ezeego1.com.
Despite the chill in North India, the company saw a 12% rise in bookings compared to the same period last year, she said. The long weekend also happened to overlap with the last two days of the Dubai Shopping Festival, a huge draw for Indians, said operators.
A drop in packaged tour prices following Christmas holidays might have also lured travelers. “Holidays are cheaper by at least 20 per cent compared to Christmas and New Year,” Anand said.