Online travel agents have reported a jump in bookings during Diwali as people take to the skies in an attempt to be around loved ones in time for family reunions and spreading cheer.
This year though is being said to be different as data from online travel agents shows that passengers are far more hesitant while making a flight booking. a report in The Hindu said that demand for travel in the first week of November is only 8% more than the first week of October. The report quoted data from travel portal Cleartrip.com.
A surge in COVID-19 cases in various metros as well as concerns about likely travel restrictions mean that passengers wait until the last minute to book their travel, it said.
The newspaper quoted Cleartrip’s Aditya Agarwal, Head of Corporate Strategy where he said that one way trips account for 78% of those being undertaken between November 7 and November 15. “This indicates that most customers prefer to have flexibility in travel plans and are booking closer to the date of travel,” Agarwal said.
The top 10 routes are dominated by those originating in business centres such as Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad and Pune and destined for cities in northern and eastern parts of the country such as Jaipur, Varanasi, Lucknow, Kolkata.
ixigo CEO & Co-founder Aloke Bajpai spoke of ‘Escape Tourism.’ “We are also witnessing a trend of ‘escape tourism’ in metros like Delhi, where increasing level of pollution has tourists flocking to destinations like Goa in search of fresh air. We have seen a 74% month-on-month increase in bookings for Goa in October. Low airfares this year around Deepavali are also further encouraging travellers to travel for leisure,” he said.
In any given year, apart from the summer months of May-June- July, Deepavali is the most anticipated time as a surge in travel demand allows airlines to raise fares. Whereas, in the lean months of July-August-September and January-February-March airlines are forced to offer discounts to woo buyers and fill up its aircraft.
This year, however, the summer season has been a washout. While flights resumed on May 25, several States continued to impose travel restrictions and quarantine rules for incoming passengers.
Moneycontrol.com quoting data from Cleartrip and EaseMyTrip said that much of the traffic was between metros, and towards the eastern parts of the country. “The top routes being booked for travel between November 8 and November 16, reveal that customers are preferring to travel back home and spend time with families during Diwali,” the report quoted Cleartrip’s Agarwal as saying.