The city’s summer vacation has got longer by at least two months. The vacation period that usually ended by May is now extended up to July due to the influx of International Baccalaureate (IB) schools in the city.
Unlike state board and central board schools, which begin the summer holidays in April, IB students begin their annual summer break in June. Holiday bookings at various travel agencies are reflecting this trend.
“High value holidays are coming from the second phase that starts from June because children going to IB schools belong to affluent families,” said Anup Kanuga, owner Bathija Travels.
Overall the travel season has begun picking up with a 15% increase in holiday bookings compared to last year. Travel agents claim that 70% of travellers are heading for short trips to budget destinations such as Singapore, Malaysia, and Bangkok while nearly one-third of them are going for fortnight-long vacations to Europe and the US.
“The season has begun with a boom, we are expecting it to get better by month-end,” said Rajesh Rateria, western region, chairman of the Travel Agents Association of India.
Within Europe, travellers are picking countries such as Spain and Germany compared France and the UK because the latter are comparably expensive markets.
“When I compared the itineraries of the two countries, Spain offered more value for money compared to France,” said Dheeraj Kothade, who works with a city-based multinational company.
Nuclear families comprising three members are clubbing vacations with extended family and friends to get better deals. “People travelling in groups of six to eight can split the road transport and guide cost,” said Subhash Motwani, director of the Colaba-based Compact Travels.
Meanwhile, big tour operators are tapping first-time foreign tourists mainly from Tier 2 cities such as Nashik and Thane.
Raj Travels, for instance, claims that their summer vacation bookings have doubled compared to last year.
“European Experience, a 25-day package is the hottest selling product this year,” said Lalit Seth, managing director, Raj Travels. Travel portal Ezeego1.com spokesperson said that it witnessed a 25% increase in business and their group holidays are almost sold out.