Many in Mumbai are making the most of this weekend — with two public holidays, Independence Day on Saturday and Parsi New Year on Tuesday — working couples, youngsters and families have booked short getaways.
For instance, travel portal Cleartrip saw a 10% rise in bookings between August 15 and August 18, compared to the I-Day weekend last year. “Indians have become smart at taking extended weekend breaks by planning their holiday in advance. Many have taken the Monday off to go on a four-day long weekend getaway,” said Amit Taneja, Cleartrip’s chief revenue officer.
More than 43% travellers had booked their holiday for this weekend almost 27 days in advance, Taneja said.
“Almost 38% bookings were for this period. We also witnessed a growth by around 87% this Independence Day sale, compared to the last,” said Sharat Dhall, president, Yatra.com.
The most popular destinations were those at driving distance from the metros, booking trends showed. Mumbaiites were heading to Goa, Mahabaleshwar and Alibaug, while travellers from Delhi flocked to Haridwar, Agra and Kasauli. People were also choosing international destinations, such as Bangkok, Dubai, Colombo and Singapore. “While booking weekend travel abroad, people prefer destinations where visa can be obtained in a few days or to countries that have visa on arrival for Indians,” said Neelam Naik from Cox and Kings Ltd.
This time, the marginal drop in both domestic and international airfares could have whipped up bookings. “The average airfare is down by around 40%, as compared to the April- May period,” said Rajeev D Kale, president and chief operating officer - MICE, Domestic and Sports Tourism with Thomas Cook (India) Ltd.