In extended August holiday season, people heading abroad
New Delhi, Aug 9 (IANS) It's raining holidays and extended weekends this month. What with Janmashtami falling on Friday and Independence Day midweek, topped off with Eid the following weekend, many people are packing their bags and heading for short haul destinations abroad.
Thailand, Mauritius, Malaysia are Macau among the preferred destinations. The Janmashtami weekend falls Aug 10-12, Independence Day is Aug 15 Wednesday, and the Eid weekend is from Aug 18-20.
Tour operators are delighted at this "unseasonal" tour season. While couples and groups are booking trips for a 10-day period beginning Aug 10, families and office goers are choosing between the two weekends.
"Technically there are two long weekends but we are looking at it as a 10-day holiday period owing to the bookings that we have got," Manmeet Ahluwalia, marketing head of online travel portal Expedia.co.in, told IANS.
"Several tours have been booked for the 10-day period beginning this Friday," he added.
He said there was no fixed pattern of bookings and the travellers are a mixed bag of families, groups of friends and newly married couples. Some people are also heading for the West.
The budget, duration of the vacation and discount offers, among others, play a pivotal role in deciding the destination for almost all the travellers, according to Prashant Chahuan, chief operating officer of Myguesthouse.com. The average holiday budget begins at Rs.5,000-10,000 per person and goes up to Rs.80,000 to Rs.100,000 - depending on the destination.
Youngsters and young couples are choosing international destinations like Bangkok, Bali, Singapore or Malaysia.
"Youngsters want to shop, gamble, enjoy night outs and indulge in water sports, so they are choosing foreign destinations," said Ahluwalia.
Pratik Mazumder, head of marketing and strategic alliance of Yatra.com, agreed: "There has been a substantial increase in the travel bookings this August. The extended weekends have fuelled the excitement amongst travellers."
Many people are also heading for domestic destinations like Kashmir, Goa, Rajasthan, Kerala and also hill stations in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.
Ahluwalia said that Expedia was offering 50 percent discount on hotels in Goa, Kerala, Rajasthan and other destinations.
Chahuan said: "Families are opting for hill stations, especially Kashmir, while there is a strong preference for Kerala as well."
"Rajasthan is a hot favourite too due to its proximity to Delhi and the monsoon season which means that the heat is not intense," he added.
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