Travel industry hopeful of demand during festive season

Factors like India’s large migratory workforce heading back home to be with family for the festive season and people maximising home visit via an extended weekend with Gandhi Jayanti, followed by the Durga Puja/Navratri week and Dusshera promise lucrative days for travel sector.
The travel industry is hopeful that the trend of clubbing weekends and public and festival holidays will be catalysing travel in India.(Photo: Ajay Aggarwal/ Hindustan Times)
The travel industry is hopeful that the trend of clubbing weekends and public and festival holidays will be catalysing travel in India.(Photo: Ajay Aggarwal/ Hindustan Times)
Updated on Sep 25, 2019 08:24 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Amid slowdown across several industries, the travel sector is banking big on the upcoming festive season. The impact of the closure of Jet Airways is over and they are expecting decent demand of tickets from passengers stabilised fare, travel portals have said.

“While airfares have stabilised post the Jet Airways challenge, the upcoming festive season has already seen an uptick of approx 5-10% in airfares for domestic and short-haul international (Asia) routes starting October,” Thomas Cook India’s president and group head (global business travel) Indiver Rastogi.

“Despite the reduced GDP growth for the June quarter, travel has clearly become a non-negotiable for Indian consumers and we are witnessing increased travel appetite during the festive season,” Rastogi said.

According to Rastogi, India’s large migratory workforce and young professionals typically head back home to be with family for the festive season.

“We’ve witnessed bookings made to maximise their home visit via an extended weekend with Gandhi Jayanti, followed by the Durga Puja/Navratri week and Dusshera. And smart bookers who have made the best of the flash sales and discounted offers announced by various airlines such as GoAir, Indigo and Vistara etc. ending September stand to save the most,” he added.

According to Yatra.com, fares are more or less the same in comparison with last year and signs are good for new year booking.

“With October packed with Dussehra and Diwali festivities, the fares are on the higher end with travellers taking their festive holiday or returning home to be with friend and families. However, fares in November have declined as compared to October, but they are expected to increase during the month of December as we anticipate Christmas and New Year’s bonanza to accelerate the passenger load,” Sharat Dhall, COO (B2C) Yatra.com, said.

“With major carriers announcing sales this is a favourable time for travellers to make their advance bookings as with the festive season approaching, there is a strong likelihood of an upsurge in the fares,” Dhall added.

However, industry experts are aware of the slowdown and the cut down on travel budget by corporates might impact the sector soon.

“Every sector has got affected due to the slowdown, whether it is aviation or hospitality. In domestic sectors, though the Jet Airways slot is taken by airlines, there are certain small sectors, where Jet used to operate 70-seater planes, has not been replaced. So, we might see an increase in fares in those sectors,” Amadeus Indian Subcontinent’s managing director Ankur Bhatia said.

Amadeus is a technology company dedicated to the global travel industry.

The recent report of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) also has some positives for the Indian aviation sector. According to its latest report, the Indian domestic market recorded an 8.9% annual growth rate, up from 8.2% in June.

“The market has not yet returned to the double-digit growth rates that were the norm in the past 4-5 years. Yet it seems to be adjusting well to the disruption caused by the demise of Jet Airways; capacity is also back on track (7.1% yoy in July vs 3.4% in June). As argued in a recent note, the long-term outlook in domestic India remains very positive,” the IATA report said.

The travel industry is hopeful that the trend of clubbing weekends and public and festival holidays will be catalysing travel in India.

“Given the limited duration of the upcoming festive season, travellers are opting for short-haul favourites like Singapore, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Colombo, Bali, Thailand; also destinations like Egypt, Jordan, Cambodia-Vietnam, and are booking their holidays well in advance to avoid surge pricing due to increased demand,” Thomas Cook India’s Rastogi said.

Yatra.com’s Dhall did acknowledge that the domestic air passenger has experienced slow growth over the last couple of months “on account of reduction in capacity owing to the exit of Jet Airways”.

“However, with the upcoming festive season, we are confident that the industry will bounce back as travellers across the country plan their holidays or visit their friends and family at this time,” Dhall said.

“At Yatra.com, we have already seen an uptick in demand in the first few days of September. The lower rates in the month of December as compared to last year can be attributed to the airline sales which were launched recently to induce travellers to book their tickets in advance. However, we foresee a rise in fares as we move closer to the travel date,” Dhall added.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Faizan Haidar writes on the Delhi government, city politics, transport, aviation, and social welfare. A journalist for a decade, he also tracks issues such as trafficking and labour exploitation in Delhi and other states.

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