Sujay Shah, 36, was surprised when he announced his Bangkok vacation on a social networking website. Instead of receiving 'jealous reactions', the Mulund resident found that many of his friends, too, had short trips lined up between August 15 and August 20.
Three public holidays – Independence Day (Aug 15), Navroze (August 18) and Eid (August 20) – within a span of six days could mean a mini vacation for some. “I had planned this trip a month in advance because it is the first long weekend after Good Friday in April,” said Shah, a chartered accountant.
Travel operators claimed there was a huge increase in bookings during this weekend compared to the long weekend (August 10 to August 15) in 2011. “Bookings to Bangkok and Singapore from Mumbai are higher by 50% and 40% respectively,” said Noel Swain, executive vice president (supplier relations) of the travel portal Cleartrip.com.
Tour operators such as Thomas Cook (India) have also witnessed a 35% increase in travel bookings during the period over the same weekend last year. “Bookings to short haul destinations such as Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Vietnam are doing well,” said Madhav Pai, chief operating officer, outbound leisure travel, Thomas Cook (India).
With the next long weekend due only in October, travel operators said bookings were high despite airfares being 15% more expensive than last year. “We have witnessed a significant demand for lesser known domestic destinations such as Kovalam, Wayanad, Manali, Mussoorie and Dharamsala,” said Neelu Singh, chief operating officer, Ezeego1.com.