It’s an extended holiday season in India, as back-to-back long weekends this month have people packing their bags again.
Sources in the travel and aviation industry said bookings to leisure travel destinations in India and countries nearby have recorded double digit growth compared to the same period last year, as two public holidays – Makar Sankranti (January 15) and Republic Day – have fallen close to the weekend.
This means office-goers with five-day weeks only need to take just a casual leave on Monday to get four days off. As a result, there has been is a 15% spike in travel bookings as compared to the same period last year, according to travel operator Cox and Kings.
“January to March, considered a lean period for travel a few years ago, is widely accepted as the best season to travel by DINKs (dual income no kids), solo travellers, singles and elderly travellers,” said Karan Anand, head (relationships), Cox and Kings Ltd.
“Such people can plan holidays at any time of the year, unlike families who have their children’s school and exam schedules to consider. Being an off season, it is also lighter on the pocket,” Anand said.
Self-drive vacations and short international trips were most popular, booking trends showed. “There is a huge demand for packages to Dubai, because of the Dubai Shopping festival open till February 1,” said Neelu Singh, chief operating officer with travel portal Ezeego1.com. The website, she said, saw a 20% surge in solo women travelers.
Travel search site Wego even created a long weekend calendar for 2016, to tap into the growing interests for multiple short breaks.
The public holiday audit showed India was among the top three countries with most number of public holidays, after Philippines (20) and Hong Kong (18). “India has 17 national holidays, although there are a number of state based holidays as well, which makes it a country with one of the most opportunities for additional leave,” said Joachim Holte, chief marketing officer, Wego.
SHORT TRIPS FROM MUMBAI
Adlabs Imagica, Khopoli (off the Mumbai-Pune Expressway) for their Happy Tuesdays offer. All tickets for Rs999 (instead of Rs1,999 for adults, and Rs1,599 for children). For details: Adlabsimagica.com
Head out for a one-day outing to Kamshet to paraglide with Mumbai Travellers. For Rs5,000 a person, you can learn paragliding from experts. For details: Call 8692086927 or email email@example.com.
Set off on a one-day trek to Peth Fort near Karjat. It’s an easy climb, making it ideal for first-timers. It will cost you Rs1,350. Pick up points Andheri West station, Santacruz East (Outside Hyatt). RBK International School (SCLR Road). For details, call 9833163486
Trek to Kalsubai Peak, the highest peak of the Sahyadris (1,646 m) in Ahmednagar district. The Kalsubai temple is located at the top. For details, call 9833163486