Dombivli resident Saurabh Nandi and his wife will spend this weekend at a four-star hotel in Dubai at a cost less than a trip to Goa.
Two weeks ago, Nandi had deleted a text message from a tour operator offering a three nights and four day holiday to Dubai for Rs 19,000.
“I could not believe it to be true because I have spent more on a trip to Goa,” said the 29-year-old executive with a pharma company.
With two consecutive long weekends in August, Nandi finally succumbed to the cheap holiday offers to nearby foreign destinations such as Singapore, Dubai and Bangkok.
Travel agents said that Dubai in particular is drawing hundreds of budget travellers because hotels and shopping arcades are the cheapest during the month of Ramadan. “It is a good shopping opportunity just ahead of the festival season in India because the rates are reasonable and malls are less crowded,” said Prakash Lulla, former president of the Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI).
Airfares to Goa continued to be high for the second consecutive weekend but flights to other popular domestic destinations such as Kerala are still “reasonable”, added travel agents.
The cost of a economy class ticket from Mumbai to Goa on August 19 and for a return flight on August 22 was Rs. 10,000 each, which is more than double the normal rate.
“Fares to Kochi are still reasonable therefore last minute planners are likely to get a good deal,” said Anup Kanuga, owner of Bathija Travels.
Rain destinations at driving distance from the city such as Malshej Ghat and Lonavla are drawing crowds too.
Ghatkopar resident, Paras Shah will be driving down to Bhandardara, a scenic hill station close to Nashik, for two days.
Shah said he would return home on Monday, which is a holiday for Gokulashtami, to recover from their hectic weekend break