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With mass inoculation on, travel industry hopes for better year

Unlike last year, with over six weekends in the year, travel portals expect tourists to explore new places, as they have already seen a surge in enquiries for short rejuvenation trips for 2021
By Neha LM Tripathi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 19, 2021 01:11 AM IST

With the mass inoculation drive against coronavirus starting in India and several other parts of the world, travel portals are hoping for a better year ahead for the industry, which had been hit last year owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Unlike last year, with over six weekends in the year, travel portals expect tourists to explore new places, as they have already seen a surge in enquiries for short rejuvenation trips for 2021. The long weekends around Republic Day, Good Friday, Holi, Janmashtami, Dussehra and Christmas are expected to see significant traveller interest.

Travel portals said that over the years, multiple short breaks to relax, reconnect and rejuvenate have become the order of the day for leisure travellers. Vacationers look to pause and unwind at quaint, tranquil properties in the hills of Himachal or Uttarakhand, or at the beaches of Goa and Pondicherry – spending more time with their loved ones and make the most of the hotel and in room amenities.

Vipul Prakash, chief operating officer (COO), MakeMyTrip, said, “Bookings on MakeMyTrip indicates that couples, small groups of friends and families with children have already started to plan and book staycations for long weekends for the year, starting with the Republic Day-long weekend. As travel sentiment revives, we hope to see more takers for the long weekend travel in the coming months.”

Cleartrip said it saw a revival in the last quarter of 2020, catalysed by seasonal demand and ease in restrictions.

“In 2021, we expect the large pent up demand to further convert into bookings. The vaccination plans will significantly aid the recovery in travel volumes, and as countries continue their vaccination drives, we may also see international travel restrictions easing. Travel will also be spurred by the number of long weekends this year, evenly spread out across all quarters,” said a spokesperson from Cleartrip.

According to Yatra.com, the travel and hospitality industry is gearing up with customised services, among others, to attract more tourists, and quick getaways as a trend has increased exponentially in the past few years with a number of travellers across India packing their bags and setting out on journeys.

Sabina Chopra, co-Founder and COO, corporate travel; and head, industry relations, Yatra.com, said, “ In 2021, we can expect this trend to grow further in demand, as tourists plan their travel before or after the weekends. The vaccine announcement is also expected to push this growth furthermore as we foresee people planning their trips judiciously while taking all precautionary measures in terms of health and safety.”

“For January, at Yatra.com we have witnessed an increase in demand for two upcoming long weekends of Republic Day and Makar Sankranti where travellers enquired about holiday packages as well as alternate accommodation options largely in 4/5-star properties, homestays and villas among others, in offbeat locations, as people continue to set out for shorter escapes,” she added.

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