Travel sentiment soars ahead of holiday season

Travel sentiment is at an ‘all-time high’ and people are likely to celebrate the upcoming festive and winter holiday seasons as they did in the ‘good ol’ pre-pandemic days’ by following booking trends at advance, Travel and Hospitality executives said. businesses.

Current data indicates that this festive travel season will “hopefully” see one of the highest spikes in bookings since the pandemic hit, said Vipul Prakash, COO of MakeMyTrip and Goibibo.

“And that confidence is underpinned by advance bookings which have already exceeded (advance) bookings for the holiday season by more than 12% in 2019. Growth in bookings for leisure and sightseeing can be expected. friends and relatives,” Prakash said. “Currently, we are looking at a 40% growth in bookings to leisure destinations such as Goa, Port Blair, Udaipur, and in parallel, travel to Tier 2 and 3 cities is seeing growth of around 26% compared to to the pre-pandemic days.”

Profitability has been restored and domestic activity is well over 100% of pre-pandemic levels, SOTC Travel managing director Vishal Suri said.

“Outbound leisure travel would be around 55-60%. We believe much of that growth is sustainable,” he said. “Although there are some supply-side constraints for international travel and air fares are high, the desire to travel is very strong. Short-distance travel has become quite important.”

Destinations such as Vietnam are now trying to attract Indian travelers with better connectivity, he said. The Chinese are not traveling and India is seen as a big source market, while companies have revived year-end reward and recognition programs, he said.

“We have large group bookings for 1,700 to 1,800 people (for trips) outside India,” Suri said. “There is a demand for destinations in Europe, Australia and Qatar for the FIFA World Cup (in November and December). Companies want to take on both employees and distribution partners.”

Searches for travel to India between September 1 and November 30 for flights increased by around 118% compared to the same period in 2019, despite prices rising by around 62%, according to a recent report from the engine search for Kayak trips.

Tarun Tahiliani, Country Manager of Kayak India, said it looks like Indians are catching up and more willing to travel than before the pandemic, based on the number of searches.

“In addition to interest in flights surpassing pre-pandemic levels, we’ve also seen searches for hotels surpass those of 2019,” he said.

Kavinder Singh, CEO of Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India, which operates timeshare properties, said occupancy for the December quarter exceeded 85% based on existing business on the books.

Vibhas Prasad, director of Leisure Hotels Group, which operates Aloha on the Ganges in Rishikesh, Sun n Snow Inn in Kausani, Riverview Retreat in Corbett and other properties in Dharamshala, Goa and Nainital, said 50% of the portfolio is depleted for October.

“We operate resorts, hotels, camps, bungalows and villas and that’s quite rare given that our destinations have much shorter booking windows,” he said. “People would like to create memories for life and traveling is one way to do that.”

Kush Kapoor, CEO of Roseate Hotels & Resorts, said he expects a minimum revenue increase of 15% for the October-December period compared to the same period in 2019.

Agra’s Taj Hotel & Convention Center is also experiencing a “huge” booking funnel for the coming months, said Paritosh Ladhani, co-CEO of Sincere Developers, which owns the property.

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