Get, set, go! Bookings surge as international travel opens up | Travel

After a long break due to the Covid-19 crisis, travelers are getting back to doing what they do best: packing their bags and flying. Thanks to the news of the resumption of international flights from March 27 and the resumption of tourist visas for foreign nationals in India, summer 22 is shaping up to be the perfect comeback for globetrotters. With countries like Vietnam, Thailand, South Africa and Bali opening up to fully vaccinated international travellers, major industry players believe this could revive the sector.

While some say experiential holidays are seeing an increase, others are seeing an increase in longer holidays in Switzerland, France, Spain and the UK. “This year’s summer holidays should be a double boon. Not only are tons of international destinations opening up to Indian travelers, but they also have three years of saved international holiday budgets to splurge on now. We expect that bookings during this season exceed anything we have seen in the recent past,” says Arun Ashok, Regional Manager – India and Middle East, Luxury Escapes.

Much-needed relief for the tourism sector

For some, it’s a win-win situation to see foreigners travel to India and help boost tourism and generate revenue. “The opening of international flights is the boost the travel and hospitality industry needed after two years of inactivity. International tourism is an important source of income for the sector, especially in states such as Kerala and Himachal. Hopefully we will welcome large numbers of tourists again, despite the Ukrainian crisis,” said Kovid Kapoor, co-founder of Holidify.

A growing number of countries are now allowing Indians to enter without the mandatory quarantine. In many cases, fully vaccinated passengers are no longer required to provide a negative RT-PCR test upon arrival either. Daniel D’souza, President and Country Head, SOTC Travel shares, “Since the announcement, we’ve seen significant travel appetite with inquiries up nearly 30-50%.” He says the reopening of closer destinations like Thailand, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Malaysia (from April 1) has resulted in a further boost with their online search recording “over 100% jump for destinations short-haul”.

Rajeev Kale, President and Country Head, Holidays, MICE, Visa – Thomas Cook (India) Limited, says the surge in demand extends beyond the summer holiday period as well. He says: “We are seeing a 20-40% increase in queries, with Switzerland, France, Spain and the UK in Europe still leading the way (40% increase), followed by short journeys such as Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Thailand, Maldives., Turkey, Egypt, Singapore (30%); also long hauls such as Australia (20%) What is remarkable is that the interest does not not limited to the peak summer holiday season, but also to long weekends and the celebration of special occasions.

The travel bug is back

The opening of destinations and the resumption of flights have given travelers confidence, says Ritu Mehrotra, APAC regional sales manager at Booking.com.

She adds: “2022 will be the year travelers make up for all their lost vacations. Whether it’s as part of their self-care regimen, the desire to connect with local communities, an opportunity to explore, or the thrill of saying yes to every opportunity that comes their way, it’s all about seizing day and make every trip count. ”

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