Massive surge in travel expected for upcoming long weekend

Violence and the ongoing turmoil in the Kashmir Valley don’t seem to have deterred tourists, and you may still have trouble spending this long weekend in Srinagar as properties of hotel chains such as ITC, the Taj and Radisson are sold out. The situation is not very different at other leisure destinations. Properties such as the Lemon Tree Premier in Corbett, the Goa Marriott Resort & Spa or The Oberoi Udaivilas have no availability on booking platforms from October 15-17.

Online travel platforms, hotel chains and travel service providers expect bumper travel this Dussehra, with bookings coming in thick and fast for itineraries ranging from jungle safaris to the hills and beaches. This could probably be the biggest spike in short haul travel on a weekend after the catastrophic second wave as restrictions ease further across states following vaccinations and a lower case count.

A MakeMyTrip spokesperson said the company is seeing a ‘strong’ demand for hotels and homestays during the upcoming long-weekend with many opting for a quick weekend getaway to the hills or to the beaches of Goa and Pondicherry.

“On MakeMyTrip, advance bookings for the upcoming festive season have touched 75% of pre-Covid levels,” the spokesperson said. Prashant Pitti, co-founder at EaseMyTrip, said his platform has seen a jump of over 50% in advance bookings for the long weekend.

“There is a huge surge in booking numbers. Destinations such as Kashmir, Leh and Rajasthan are the favourites when it comes to this long weekend,” he said, adding that domestic fares for some destinations have also risen by 50% as a result. Rajeev Kale, president and country head for holidays and MICE at Thomas Cook India said the demand is upwards of 5x versus the same period last year. He said the upcoming extended weekend is witnessing brisk demand for favourites like Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Leh Ladakh (despite being the end of season), Goa and the Andamans.

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