Juinagar resident Satish Mahajan, 39, found an affordable accommodation for his family holiday in Kerala, but the exorbitant airfares were holding back his vacation from taking off. A frantic online search for cheaper air tickets led Mahajan to an unexpected option — buying the holiday on instalments.
Instead of spending Rs60,000 at one go, Mahajan will now pay nine instalments of about Rs6,600 a month. He will now leave for Kochi with his two children and wife on December 22. “We are already planning a foreign holiday next year,” said the executive with a public sector undertaking.
Although the concept of travel on equated monthly instalments (EMI) was introduced in India about two years ago, the facility was available only to people opting for big budget holidays. However, now, travel portals and even mid-size travel agencies have begun selling vacations on instalments irrespective of the cost of the journey.
Cleartrip, for instance, recently started such a scheme. “The bookings on our EMI scheme contribute 2% of our overall business. It is promising as the concept is relatively new,” said Noel Swain, the portal’s executive vice-president, (supplier relations).
The scheme is also being widely used by families hosting weddings. Rishi Inamdar, 28, a gold trader from Borivli, booked air tickets and hotel rooms worth more than Rs1 lakh for his sister’s wedding in Bangalore. “I have a good six months to clear the dues,” said Inamdar.
According to travel agents, though banks are currently reluctant to be associated with mid-size travel agents, the scenario is likely to change. “Families taking one annual vacation and youngsters are most inclined to opt for EMI vacations. This is a large segment of travellers in urban India. Hence, everyone will soon offer EMI vacations in the near future,” said Jay Bhatia, western region chairman of the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI).