Visa Crunch

Demand For International Travel Surges, Say Tour Operators

Demand for foreign travel has shown a “clear increase” a week following the return of scheduled overseas commercial aviation operations from India, encouraging travel service providers.

People are yearning to travel after a two-year slump, and demand and inquiries are skyrocketing despite increased plane rates, according to industry insiders.

Indiver Rastogi, president and group head for global business travel at Thomas Cook (India) and SOTC, said short-haul destinations were currently seeing the most growth, with bookings to Thailand increasing three times week on week, followed by Singapore and Indonesia, and island destinations such as the Maldives and Mauritius seeing 30-35 per cent growth.

Inquiries for Western Europe (Switzerland, France, Italy, and Austria) had surged fourfold over the previous year, he added. “Dubai and Abu Dhabi are also witnessing a 40-50 per cent increase in interest compared to the same period last year; Turkey and Egypt are up by 40 per cent, and the United States is up by 100 per cent (for consumers with proper visas).”

As per a Cleartrip spokeswoman, foreign bookings have grown by 80 per cent since the Indian government announced the start of scheduled international flight operations on March 27 compared to January of this year.

“The UAE, Maldives and Thailand are popular destinations for the upcoming summer travel season,”

the spokesperson added.

According to Benzy Nazar, CEO of Akbar Holidays, vengeance travel has returned, and people are booking despite high plane rates.

“People don’t seem to have the Covid fears anymore. With the school summer breaks starting, those with school children are looking at European destinations,” she said. “Those who have not booked in advance are looking at the Far East. With Thailand opening, the four-nights-five-days packages are doing well. Singapore is seeing a lot of traction and Dubai is doing really well despite Ramzan.”

According to RateGain, the most popular locations for bookings on Indian online travel platforms appear to be the UAE, Thailand, and Nepal. As per, with regular international flights resumed in India, London, Paris, Dubai, Toronto, and Amsterdam are among the top foreign destinations for Indian travellers from April 1 to June 30.

According to Vipul Prakash, chief operating officer at MakeMyTrip, the UAE, and the Maldives have already recovered over 80% this month compared to pre-Covid days.

“On similar lines, flight bookings to the US, UK, Canada, and Australia have already touched a recovery of 60% versus January 2020. Flight bookings to short-haul destinations including Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia are seeing a week-on-week growth,”

he added.

Nonetheless, despite travel service providers seeing positive demand and increased bookings, one airline executive stated that long-haul flights have been doing well for his company (in terms of passenger demand), but this must be viewed in the context of many more airlines joining the market.

According to Rastogi of Thomas Cook India and SOTC, business interest in the FIFA World Cup in Qatar and the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year is also increasing travel intent.

Business travel has increased by doubling month on month since January and is now three times what it was last month.

“With the resumption of scheduled international aviation, a substantial improvement in corporate sentiment has resulted at the end of March at 90 per cent of our 2019 levels, headed by IT, consultancy, banking and finance, global accounts, and SMEs fueling demand. Strong demand exists for destinations such as the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom,”

he noted.

Legal Disclaimer: This article is provided for information purposes only.

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