Only 19% Indians willing to travel this festive season due to Covid-19, finds survey

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Published on Sep 07, 2020 12:15 AM IST
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ByNeha LM Tripathi, Mumbai

Only 19% citizens are willing to travel this festive season (October-December), and of those who travel, only 23% are willing to commute by a flight, car or taxi, reveals a survey by a social media and community platform. The survey of 25,000 people from 239 districts of India, also stated that most people do not want to make their bookings till they get closer to their travel date.

The survey conducted by LocalCircles, (a community social media platform that enables citizens to escalate issues for policy and enforcement interventions) revealed that 66% of their respondents were men while 34% respondents were women. 61% respondents were from tier-1 cities, 28% from tier-2 and 11% respondents were from tier-3 and 4 cities and rural districts.

With Durga Puja, Dussehra, Diwali and Chhath festival, all incidentally falling between October and November, people in many parts of India usually plan their travel back home or vacations during this time every year. However, this year seems to look drastically different due to Covid-19.

When asked about the kind of travel they plan to undertake in the upcoming festive season, 69% respondents in the survey said that they will not be travelling this year and would stay at home, 3% said they will travel to a holiday destination, 13% said they will visit family and friends, while another 3% said they will do both. The remaining 12% said that they were unsure about what they would do and hence were yet to make a decision.

Nishant Pitti, co-founder of EaseMyTrip said, “This year travel booking will be completely different unlike last year for the festive season. Currently people are not booking tickets in advance due to flight ticket prices being capped and uncertainty for refunds. Airlines like Vistara and GoAir have not refunded money to customers for tickets that were booked during the nationwide lockdown and have asked them to reuse the same money for travel later. As flight business is picking up, we feel that during festival times flights will get good responses as consumers think that airfares won’t increase due to cap on them.”

Though India opened domestic air travel on May 25, daily Covid-19 cases have continued to rise during this period. The Unlock 4.0 came into effect on September 1 with relaxation in quarantine restrictions by most states, however, airline officials say that people are being cautious and unwilling to travel.

MakeMyTrip, however, said that they have seen an increase in the number of flight searches for flights between metro to non-metro and metro to metro routes. Its spokesperson said, “As the festive season begins October onwards, people who could not travel back home in the earlier phases of the unlock –are now looking forward to visiting the home to celebrate festivities with their loved ones. We are already noticing an increase in searches for flights between metro to non-metro and metro to metro routes. Some of these routes include Bengaluru–Kolkata, Mumbai–Varanasi and Bangalore-Patna among others. However, as caseloads continue to rise in the country, the majority of travellers are preferring to book closer to the date of travel depending on various factors such as quarantine guidelines, number of cases in a particular state etc.”

“With the recommencement of flight operations, the demand for domestic routes is picking up. We are witnessing more bookings being made for near future i.e., next two weeks. Popular metro and non-metro routes in demand include Patna, Varanasi, Lucknow and Bangalore. We can expect booking enquires to have a double-digit growth during the festive season of October-December this year,” said a spokesperson for Yatra company, a travel web portal.

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