Leisure bookings and travelling for holidays go up despite surge in COVID-19 cases
Green shoots of recovery
Leisure bookings and travel to popular holiday destinations went up significantly in September over August despite the surge in Covid-19 cases, pointing to green shoots of recovery in the tourism sector that has been crippled by the protracted lockdown. Nishant Pitti, co-founder of EaseMyTrip, said average daily tickets sold in September for airports in Goa, Udaipur, Bagdogra, Port Blair and Cochin, went up on his platform to 571, 126, 651, 67, and 575 respectively, registering a growth of around 340 per cent, 147 per cent, 80 percent, 219 per cent, and 144 per cent over August.
All for leisure
Travellers are mostly opting for homestays, villas and more personalized modes of accommodation. Hoteliers said bookings for accommodation in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh have also been going up as the two states eased travel restrictions for outsiders. In a whitepaper released on October 1 titled ‘Domestic leisure demand picks up in India’, Vidhi Godiawala, business development manager for central and South Asia at hotel industry tracker STR, said that Rajasthan, Karnataka and Punjab were the first to attract domestic leisure guests. Goa, where occupancy was in a state of limbo and in single digits until August, has seen considerable upward movement with weekend leisure demand growing ‘robustly.’
And as people begin to gradually venture out after spending months indoors, there has been an increase in the number of booking enquiries and searches for short-term holidays or road trips to close-to-home destinations, majorly to places within 300kms from home city. Vipul Prakash - Chief Operating Officer MakeMyTrip, says, “We are seeing early signs of recovery for our holiday products including weekend getaways, Staycations and Daycations. Besides short-haul leisure trips that are making a comeback, we are also noticing a steady increase in bookings for Workation trips, that offer the comfort of logging in from a home in the hills or a seaside resort, away from the city.”
Business travel picks up pace
According to a report by ET, business travel has also picked up in India for the first time since the lockdown with several top corporates allowing employees, including chief executives, business heads and even mid-level managers, to travel in both domestic and international routes. Top corporates such as Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, Mercedes Benz, ITC, Parle Products, Vivo, Oppo, Lenovo, Mondelez, and Panasonic have given some relaxation to travel restrictions for critical work and projects which cannot be completed through video-conferencing.
Safety and sustainability
Health and safety is a crucial aspect of the information Indians are seeking in order to make informed decisions on travel and accommodation. And most of the industry are adopting new ways of going contactless to minimise risk. “As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, tech-enabled, seamless yet no-touch travel has become the new reality. More than ever before, travelers are prioritizing and demanding safety and hygiene assurance throughout their travel journey. From choosing to travel in close-knit groups; to opting for self-drive trips; to preferring no-touch check-ins at airports and hotels and more – there is a natural re-prioritization of expectations around safety,” says Vipul Prakash - Chief Operating Officer MakeMyTrip.