Bookings rise by 20%
Giving conventional tourist destinations like Kashmir, Sikkim-Gangtok, and Shimla a run for their money, Ladakh seems to be emerging as one of the top summer domestic destinations in India this year.
What's more, a trip to Ladakh is also getting more affordable by the day. Tour operators are going all out this summer by providing packages to Ladakh in the range of Rs 14,999 per person for 5 nights and 6 days, that takes care of all your meals, sight-seeing, stay at good hotels and your airfare to to Rs 30,000.
Keyur Joshi, COO of Makemytrip.com says, "This year we have charters to Ladakh from both Mumbai and Ahmedabad unlike last year when it was only from Delhi. Our Ladakh packages are priced at Rs 22,999 from Delhi, Rs 29,999 from Mumbai and Rs 26,999 from Ahmedabad. Looking at the increasing demand we have added more capacity and departure cities. It is too early to say what the increase is as few airlines have also added capacity which means demand would have more than doubled this year.
Interestingly families including young kids and elderly people are travelling with us during this summer holiday season while from July onwards it will be a younger travellers who are taking trips to Ladakh." Most tour operators have already sold off Ladakh packages till May and bookings are still poring in. Sanjeev Chhajjer, Vice President, Cox and Kings says, "There has been an increase in people signing up for the Ladakh experience and bookings have doubled this year. Also we are seeing a spurt of bookings from Gujarat as there are bi-weekly flights from Ahmedabad to Ladakh with a stopover in Delhi. The increased air connectivity to Ladakh is one of the main reasons for this increase in tourist footfall."
Weekly departure of flights from Mumbai and Ahmedabad have added to the easy accessibility of the destination that was hitherto considered an exotic travail.
Ahmedabad-based tour operator Manish Sharma from Akshay travels says, "From last year where there were only 2,000 people who booked for the Ladakh package, the numbers have grown. This year more than 5,000 people have booked for the Ladakh trail from April 26 to June 5, 2011 already. Earlier there were flights from Delhi alone, but post the additional flight from Ahmedabad, tourists from Ahmedabad has increased by 20 per cent to this destination. Better accessibility, lesser rates and awareness among people about Ladakh are some of the reasons why it is such a hit this year with travelers."
Sikkim-Gangtok, Bhutan and Kashmir-Leh are some of the other destinations that have caught the fancy of travelers this summer. "Ladakh is an ideal destination for summers as there is a lot on the platter for tourists. One gets to see all the different landscapes in one region be it the cold desert Nubra valley, the placid Pangong lake and soft adventure trails for those seeking the thrill of adventure. We are seeing many families also planning Ladakh trips as compared to earlier because of many films like 3 Idiots were filmed there in addition to better air accessibility and affordable airfare. The hotel industry is quite robust there with hotels that cater to travelers of every budget," says Anil Rai, Business Head of Holidays of India.