Indians find a new way to celebrate Diwali: travellingDebolina Biswas
The number of Indians travelling during Diwali break has gone up exponentially, say Makemytrip and OYO, but returning home for the festival remains a priority for many.
The Festival of Lights is traditionally a time for family, friends, and coming together. But in these busy times, Diwali seems to be bringing alive wanderlust across India. More and more people are choosing to make an escape – be it to the beaches or the mountains - during the festival holidays.
Online travel company Makemytrip has said there has been an almost 22 percent rise in the number of domestic travellers flying this Diwali. Travellers are also exploring international destinations; there has been an 18 percent increase in travellers flying internationally.
Luxury pips budget stays
Makemytrip, based on their bookings, has seen more people preferring to stay at four and five-star hotels, with 4 percent travellers upgrading from budget hotels to star hotels, during this period compared to last year.
Home-bound travel has also gone up with a significant number of people traveling between Mumbai, Delhi, and Bengaluru. Bookings to Tier II cities, including Patna and Ranchi, have also doubled since last year.
Saujanya Shrivastava, Group CMO of MakeMyTrip, said: “Indians are looking for more and more reasons to travel.We see a good mix of bookings for long and short-haul destinations with Bali, Dubai, Thailand, and Mauritius being the most booked international destinations. Domestic destinations like Udaipur, Coorg, and Goa are topping the charts.”
Domestic and international
The online travel aggregator has seen an increase of 22 percent in domestic travel bookings, with Coorg (77 percent) leading the game, followed by Udaipur (56 percent), Goa (34 percent), and the Andamans (18 percent).
While Thailand, with 25 percent growth, is the favourite international destination for Indians this Diwali, others popular destinations include Dubai, Bali, and Mauritius.
Get, set, go
A study by hospitality company OYO Rooms into booking trends reveals a 190 percent increase in pre-bookings this Diwali, as compared to last year. Indians are now more inclined towards travelling, either with their families or solo, rather than staying back at home.
OYO said the rise of impulsive travel is the major reason behind this emerging trend. Long weekends usually trigger the travel bug, with the desire to explore new destinations to relax and rejuvenate.
Vikram Kumar, Founder of ExploreLifeTraveling, which offers experiential home stays, said more people go back to their hometowns during Diwali instead of indulging in leisure travel,.
While almost 9 percent of travellers from Bengaluru are going back to their families, 10 percent were indulging in leisure travelling, he said. Coorg and Goa attracted the most number of travellers while Coonoor is becoming a popular destination. The young crowd, he said, was travelling to Hampi and Gokarna.
In Mumbai, people are opting for weekend getaways even as many in Delhi travel further north.
Rise of the solo traveller
Solo travelling has become extremely popular in India with umpteen Indians packing their bags to spend quality time with themselves.
Solo travelling recorded a 110 percent increase, going by the number of independent bookings at OYO. Couple travelling, on the other hand, has been recording a 96 percent increase year-on-year.
When it comes to destinations, Goa has been recorded the top destination among all travellers, followed by Jaipur, Delhi, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Nainital, and Udaipur. OYO recorded a rise of 180 percent in their bookings in the fourth quarter.
OYO anticipated the rise to spike up to 250 percent during the festive week.