Travel firms bullish on R-Day, expect flight sales to pip New Year weekend

It will be a busy weekend for airlines and travel with leisure travel fueling high demand across the network.

MakeMyTrip, India’s largest online travel portal, expects higher demand for weekend compared to the eve weekend. “Goa, Kochi and Srinagar are the most booked leisure destinations while Patna, Guwahati and Lucknow have emerged as top tier-II and- III destinations. UAE, Thailand and Singapore rule the charts on the international front,” said Vipul Prakash, chief operating officer of MakeMyTrip.

Domestic air traffic has been surging since end-November. The demand has held firm in January too with daily traffic crossing the 400,000-mark on most days. In the first seven days of January traffic grew 0.5 over per cent over December and flights operated were over three per cent higher on a sequential basis. “Demand has held steady though it is lower than December. But this is encouraging as we didn’t see daily traffic cross 400,000 in April-May last year. We are expecting high demand during weekend,” said a senior executive of a private airline.

“The bullish travel sentiment continues for the upcoming Republic Day weekend. Besides Goa, accommodation bookings in leisure destinations such as Pondicherry, Munnar, Kochi, Mahabaleshwar, Manali, Udaipur, Coorg and Lucknow are witnessing high bookings,” Prakash added.

The sentiment is echoed by Rajeev Kale, president & country head (holidays), Thomas Cook India. “We are seeing a brisk demand uptick of over 25 per cent,” he said. Apart from popular domestic destinations, short haul and easy access destinations such as Thailand, Indonesia, Maldives, Dubai and Singapore are in demand for the extended weekend,” he said.

“We are seeing considerable expansion in the market with over 25 per cent of our customer base for the season comprising new customers and also millennials,” added Daniel D’souza, president and country head of holidays, SOTC Travel.