Foreign travel searches, bookings surge

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Many have not quantified the percentage of the jump because it is still early days, but most admitted that there is pent-up demand for high-end travel stays in destinations as diverse as Dubai, the Maldives, France and Spain.

“In the past few weeks, on MakeMyTrip, almost 80% of total searches were for bookings in the Maldives, Dubai and Europe,” said Vipul Prakash, chief operating officer of the online travel company. “As countries begin to welcome Indian travelers again, there is a wave of optimism and confidence that is gradually settling around international travel,” he said.

The company saw a significant increase in international travel bookings in November. “As the year-end travel season returns, we hope to see the numbers increase significantly for December as well. As more countries reopen for Indian tourists, international travel will make a comeback, ”Prakash said.

Pent-up demand and the ability to vacation with family and friends is driving bookings from India, said Radhika Khanijo, managing director of luxury travel company Welgrow Travels, which designs packages for high net worth individuals. . Its customers are gearing up for a snowy vacation this winter, and many of them are booking destinations such as Switzerland, France, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States for the upcoming holiday season, a- she declared.

“The maximum number of requests at the moment concerns France, the Maldives and Spain. Some have booked upscale ski resorts in Switzerland and others in the French Alps, “she said. These countries have resumed commercial flights with India. Sri Lanka and the Maldives too.

“Interest in travel is unprecedented right now. Almost all flights are full and vacation travel partners have their hands full, ”she said.

“After missing travel for over 18 months, Indians are clearly pushing the boundaries. Our data at Thomas Cook indicates a diversity of exceptional destinations and experiences emerging on our guest’s wishlists, from the clear blue waters of Sardinia, to the breathtaking and secluded views of New Zealand, to the sauna and spa experiences. ‘Northern Lights of Scandinavia,’ said Rajeev Kale, President and Country Head. , public holidays, MICE, Visa, at Thomas Cook (India) Ltd.

Bookings of private jets to destinations like the Maldives, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Ukraine and Russia are on the rise, said JetSetGo, a private aviation service. It is now receiving requests for the United States, as the country will open to international travel from November 8 for those fully vaccinated.

The past two months have seen an increase in queries for Switzerland, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Vancouver and London, travel company ixigo said. “Ixigo saw a 74% increase in the total number of international travel bookings from October 1 to 21 compared to August 1 to 21,” said Aloke Bajpai, group president and CEO and co-founder of Ixigo.% D increase in search queries for Dubai, Maldives and Russia for leisure travel.

Southeast Asia appears to be on the list of Indians eagerly awaiting travel to Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore when restrictions are relaxed in the near future, MakeMyTrip said.

The tourism boards of Indonesia and Mauritius have said India is among the top countries they receive visitors from and expect tourists to return as soon as the airways open. The Indian market is its sixth largest, and more than 75,000 Indian tourists visited the country in 2019, said Arvind Bundhun, director of the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority.

Indonesia, which received more than 650,000 Indian tourists in 2019, its fifth market, before the pandemic, is working on connectivity for direct and indirect flights from India, said R. Sigit Witjaksono, director of tourism marketing. for east, south and central Asia region, Indonesia.

The pent-up demand is also driving up costs due to expensive and limited flights operated under the air bubble pacts with countries. Flights to Dubai, which were approximately ??20,000 for a round trip in 2019, are priced at ??55,000 for economy class, said travel agency Thomas Cook India & SOTC. He said ticket prices for Zurich, Paris and Istanbul have gone from ??45,000 to over ??1 lakh

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