Thane resident Sachin Gadgil was disappointed when he discovered that the lakeside cottages at a state-run resort in Bhandardara are booked for the next six weekends.
Worse, the other six types of rooms at the resort in the picturesque hill station near Nashik are booked till August end.
“I know that the demand for these rooms is high so I tried booking them a month in advance but still could not get a reservation,” said the software engineer. Gadgil’s attempt to book rooms at Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC)-run resorts at other popular monsoon destinations such as Mahableshwar, Malshej and Chikhaldara were also futile.
“Barring dormitories everything else was packed,” said the 37-year-old who had to settle for a regular hotel room in Mahableshwar.
With the rains arriving late in the city, weekend trips to destinations located a drive away from the city have finally taken off, said travel agents. MTDC run resorts get packed first because they are cheaper than private hotels and offer the best view.
According to data from the MTDC, the average room occupancy during monsoon months of June to September increased from 51% in 2009 to 62% in 2011. The number of tourists during this period also increased from 61,305 to 65,757.
Private travel operators are also witnessing a healthy increase in monsoon tourists over last year. “Bookings to destinations close to Mumbai such as Alibaug, Matheran, Lonavla and Khandala have increased by more than 20%,” said Karan Anand, head relationships, Cox and Kings Ltd.
“People shopping for monsoon holidays have increased by 50%. The increase in the number is result of rise of experiential travellers who look to absorb renewed experience of same or different location during monsoon,” said Manmeet Aluwalia, marketing head, Expedia India. Kerala, Goa, and Udaipur are the most popular destinations, he added.