Ahead of August 15, advance bookings to popular tourist destinations have seen an increase of 50 per cent, according to data. Bookings have been made at least a month in advance.
Travel websites claimed that although August 15 is a mid-week holiday, the bookings have seen an increase. Balu Ramachandran, Head – Air & Distribution, Cleartrip, said: “Given that Independence Day is on a Wednesday this year, we saw that number of bookings has increased, both for the weekend prior to and after August 15. The number of air bookings, at least 15 days in advance, has increased by 49 per cent for the travel days close to August 15.”
Domestic destinations that have seen an increase in bookings are Kochi, Kolkata, Goa, Shirdi, Visakhapatnam, Patna and Munnar. Bangkok, Colombo, Singapore, Chicago, and Krabi are the leading international ones.
Travel websites like Expedia and Avis, claimed that while usual bookings for extended weekends would start two weeks prior to the dates, tourists started booking hotels at least a month in advance this time. There has been a 30 per cent increase in queries related to bookings as well.
“Midweek holidays do not bother the new-era travelers anymore as they are ready to take the opportunity of the extra two days,” said Kapil Goswamy, chairman and managing director, BigBreaks.com. He said travelers, of both the young and older generations, are utilising the mid-week break for exploring longer holiday options.”There has been a behavioral change, as the new trends indicate that people are no longer afraid of planning ahead, applying for leave and using the opportunity by embarking upon a journey from Friday evening to Wednesday,” he added.
Websites like Avis are offering one-way rentals (to Mumbai and Pune) that helps people save 60 per cent of the cost. Airlines like Jet Airways had offered discounts of up to 30 per cent on economy and premiere fares.
“Monsoon has hit the country right on time and the weather is cooler. Places like Munnar, Kumarakom, Alleppey, Panchgani, Lonavala and Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra, Coorg and Agumbe in Karnataka and Kodaikanal in Tamil Nadu are trending. For international travelers, Sri Lanka, Phuket and Bangkok in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Maldives, Dubai, Paris and Venice in Italy, Prague (Czech Republic), Vienna in Austria, and Budapest (Hungary) have become hot spots,” said Goswamy.
Highway patrolling officials said they are expecting heavy traffic on the Mumbai-Pune, Mumbai-Nagpur and Nashik expressways from Saturday. Deployment of traffic police personnel will be increased on Independence Day, officials said.