AHEAD OF Ganeshotsav commencing Friday, travel portals recorded an increase in flight bookings to Mumbai and surrounding areas. Travel bookings witnessed a 20 per cent surge ahead of the festival as compared to last year.
Booking websites recorded at least 50 per cent increase in flights headed towards Mumbai and Pune since July. According to popular ticket booking site Paytm, cities like Delhi, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad were witnessing a lot of ticket bookings for Maharashtra during the festive season.
“This year has seen a massive surge in people travelling to Maharashtra during this period of revelry, and this has reflected in the booking trends on Paytm,”said Abhishek Rajan, Vice President, Paytm. “There has been a spurt in flight bookings from various parts of India to Mumbai during Ganesh Chaturthi. The travel enthusiasts are choosing budget hotels for accommodation and typically make reservations in advance to avoid any last-minute surge in prices,” said Sharat Dhall, Chief Operating Officer, Yatra.
Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur in Tier-I and Nashik,Aurangabad, Solapur, Kolhapur, and Amravati in Tier-II cities have received a large share of the traffic. “From July onwards, a 53 per cent week-on-week increase in flights to Mumbai and surrounding areas has been noticed around the Ganapati weekend. Among these, 40 per cent of the bookings are from Chennai, Hyderabad, Jaipur and Kolkata,” added Varun Gupta, CEO Goomo, an omni-channel travel tech company.
According to Paytm’s research, the largest share of travellers belongs to the 24-34 years age group, which accounts for 35 per cent of total bookings. Users between ages of 35 and 44 years comprise 31 per cent of the total, while those belonging to the 45-59 years account for 16 percent.
“The biggest travel movement witnessed during Ganpati festival is of salaried people travelling to their native place in Konkan to celebrate the festival. Destinations in Maharashtra such as Sindhudurg, Ganpatipule, Alibagh, Ratnagiri in Konkan belt are in huge demand. People are also travelling to Pune, Shirdi, Nashik and Aurangabad this weekend,” added Karan Anand, Head, Relationships, Cox & Kings.
“We are witnessing a heavy demand in bus and car rental bookings for people preferring to drive down to nearby destinations. Also, families are booking resorts that offer activities like spas, swimming pools, water sports and indoor games aimed at relaxation,” said Neelu Singh, CEO and Director of travel booking site Ezeego 1.
An increasing trend of flights headed towards Kerala has also been recorded around the Onam weekend. Fifty per cent of the bookings to Kerala are from Mumbai and Delhi.
Also, to mark the completion of 125 years of Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav in the state, the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) is planing a Ganesh tour to famous mandals in the city. “MTDC will collaborate with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation to develop separate pandals for foreign travellers to witness the Ganesh procession at Girgaon Chowpatty. This enclosure will be able to lodge 200 tourists. Visitors will get a chance to participate in ceremonies, traditional programmes and societal initiatives. All tours will be organized between August 27 to September 3,” said Jaykumar Rawal, state tourism minister.