Traveling, for new India, is no more a once-a-year phenomenon.
Divya, a bride to be, wanted to utilise the ongoing week full of holidays, as this was her last chance to spend some quality time with her family before she gets married. She is simply one of the many examples of a travel enthusiast Indians that one could witness this holiday-filled week.
A strong travel demand witnessed during the Independence Day long weekend reiterates travel-hungry India’s growing appetite for ‘micro-breaks’ and ‘smart weekend holidays’. The holiday-filled week, which started with Bakri Id on Monday, August 12, Independence Day on Thursday, August 15, and Parsi New Year on Saturday, August 17, was converted by many into a short mid-year break of a 4 to 7-day getaway. With Indians being quintessential workaholics, this trend is being led by metro city travellers who are looking to utilise the long weekend to take a quick break from their hectic schedule and travel to short-haul destinations to relax and rejuvenate.
Vahbiz Dorabjee, a prominent figure, expresses her joy about the long weekend saying, “We are taking off on a trip to Goa since its the Parsi new year for us. Goa is easily one of the best travel destinations in India. So we are looking forward to a great trip and what makes it special is that this time even my grandmother will be with us.”
“Although it is an off-season for beach holidays, Goa has registered the highest number of air bookings for its lush trails best enjoyed during this season. Other top domestic leisure destinations are Kochi, Jaipur, Guwahati, while Dubai, Manilla, Sharjah, Abudhabi, Bangkok, lead the pack for top international destinations around this time,” shares Balu Ramachandran, Senior Vice President, Cleartrip. Ramachandran adds, “The Independence Day is on Thursday, and many people have planned for an extended weekend trip by taking a day off on Friday. The advance booking trend is prominent for the travel plans made for this weekend.”
Talking about the strong demand, he says, “We are observing a whopping 45% of bookings for this year to be made over three weeks in advance, as against 33% of the total bookings that were made three weeks in advance last year. Fares are higher by 18% year over year for those who booked over three weeks before travel. For bookings made within a week of travel, fares are about 2% less.”
Whereas, Jay Bhanushali, an actor by profession begs to differ on the topic. He shares, “I will not take 15th August as a holiday and I would request all the Indians not to take it as a holiday. I think out of the whole year at least give one day to the country and show their respect to the country. After 15th August you can do whatever you want but I think this day should definitely be not taken as a holiday to chill out somewhere... I think we should be responsible and respect the armed forces who are sacrificing their lives for us. This is a very important day for us and as per my opinion, this day should be treated as a thanksgiving day for the armed forces.”
However, Sunil Gupta MD & CEO, Avis India says that they have seen a lot of buzz for car rental bookings. With the variety in the age group of travellers for the holiday season, the bookings received are a mix of chauffeur-driven and self-drive cars. From Pune, people are driving down to Goa, Lavasa, Mahabaleshwar, Khandala majorly. These long weekends definitely give rise to the micro-trips preferred by the majority of people these days and an increase of 40 % in car rental in comparison to the same period last year is clearly evident.
As we dive into our daily pursuit of wealth and luxury, the time for leisure gets cramped and crippled more than ever. However, utilising most of what we call smart or mini-vacation is what gives us hope to survive the monochromatic lives. These truly act as a tinge of green amidst our greyish lives.