Abhinav Verma, a lecturer, is excited about his family trip to Goa this October. It might be ‘Games’ for Delhi, but for many Delhiites, like Abhinav, it is a perfect time to go for a holiday. As schools, colleges and some government offices will be closed during the Commonwealth Games (CWG), people want to make the most out of this unusually long break.
Travel companies have seen a 25-30 per cent spurt in bookings from Delhi for this period, compared to last year. The increase in demand has led to a rise in the cost of travel packages. “Airlines and hotels jack up prices October onwards. But the increase this time is more than normal. Many have already increased prices 30 per cent,” said Sabina Chopra, co-founder, Yatra.com.
“Schools are closed for three weeks and those who missed out during the summer will take advantage of the long holiday. There has been an increase in enquiries during the period when the CWG is being staged,” said Karan Anand, head, relationships and supplier management, Cox and Kings.
Meanwhile, there are quite a few signs of a big rush in inbound travel to Delhi, as booking enquiries are far less than expected. As a result, the increase in the fares of various five-star hotels has been much less than expected.
“For the winter season, if the price normally offered was Rs 15,000 a night, it has come down to Rs 8,000,” said Subhash Goyal, chairman, Stic Travel Group. This could be a result of negative publicity and increased hotel inventory in Delhi and the national capital region, said Goyal.
“There is no doubt that bookings for CWG are not coming in. Average room rates for that duration may go up slightly,” said Sushil Gupta, CMD, Asian Hotels (West).
Travel portals, like MakeMyTrip, have seen a 15 per cent rise in enquiries from NCR during last month. “Perhaps non-sport lovers are planning to head out of the city to avoid the anticipated crowd and make the most of this break,” said Keyur Joshi, COO and co-founder, MakeMyTrip.
While the rates for overseas packages are stable, domestic packages are seeing a spurt in prices due to higher demand. “The rise in air fares for trips out of Delhi is also having an impact on prices of domestic packages. Overseas travel prices have not seen a great increase,” said Goyal.
Kerala, Goa, Dubai, Europe and east Asia are among the most popular destinations. Travellers from Delhi are not too keen to go to places like Rajasthan or Agra, which are likely to attract a lot of international tourists during the Games.
“Restrictions on commuting within Delhi have also encouraged people to venture out of the capital,” said Indian Association of Travel Operators’ President Vijay Thakur.
Keeping in mind customers, several agencies are coming up with special promotions for destinations like Walt Disney and Hong Kong. Since a lot of families are travelling with children, such destinations are in popular demand.