The Diwali weekend is about to come bearing some good news for the tourism sector. Travel portals and hotels are witnessing an increase in bookings during Diwali weekend (November 13 – November 15). Influx of tourists, advance bookings and rise in enquiries has added a gleam of hope to the severely impacted travel sector due to the pandemic.

The festive season has witnessed a spike in demand with more holiday-goers showing zeal to plan their trip with their families states Sabina Chopra, co-founder and COO, Corporate Travel & Head Industry Relations, Yatra.com. She says, “In 2020, due importance is being given to health and hygiene norms while choosing any particular destination and travellers are being extra cautious. The booking enquires for the Diwali weekend has gone up by 36% as travellers plan a trip to relax and unwind away from hustle of city life.”

The hotel bookings during Diwali weekend were made a month in advance and the high demand has also lead to a surge in room tariffs reveals, Ankita Sheth, co-founder, Vista Rooms. She says, “Typically we are at 70-80% occupancy on general weekends. But during the Diwali weekend, the bookings have started almost 1 month prior, the tariffs have gone up to 25-30% higher which is impeccable compare to last year. Surprisingly Goa on Diwali weekend is witnessing traffic from not only Mumbai but Delhi and Bangalore as well. Compared to the last few weeks, we have seen almost 70% occupancy only in Diwali weekend which has never happened in the last 2-3 years.”

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Manav Singh, chairman, Imperial Holding Pvt Ltd and founder of a luxury property in Shimla believes that one of the reasons for hike is because people are now open to the idea of spending time away from Delhi’s noxious air especially during Diwali. He also states, “Compared to the last year, the demand has outstripped and this month we have seen a significant growth in inquires per day almost 60-70 in and around Diwali, and occupancy 60-65% for the private villas. Looking at the current momentum, we are expecting to be fully sold out for Diwali”.

According to a report by another online travel booking platform Goibibo, “Travellers including young couples and group of friends are set to take leisure trips during this year’s Diwali break. And as per the bookings made so far on goibibo platform, over 50 per cent of the reservations have been made for premium or mid-premium hotel properties.”

While some Delhi-NCR residents are planning a quick getaway over the weekend owing to rising pollution level, many have decided to go on a holiday with pets for their safety, and others are set to finally take the plunge to restart their travel and explore new destinations. Himantika Seth, a Delhi-based home-maker says, “Instead of hosting Diwali parties this year, we have planned a family holiday to Mussoorie, so we can all be together and also escape the rising pollution at least for a weekend.”

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Pet-parent Charul Sharma, a Gurugram-based social media marketer is chalking out a holiday with her two dogs. She states, “It becomes extremely difficult on the day of Diwali to manage with two pets at home. It’s very traumatising for them and painful for me to see them in discomfort. So this year, my family and I will be taking a road trip along with our doggos.”

Working professionals in the city staying away from the families who can’t make to their hometowns amid the pandemic are too preferring to take a breather nearby, thanks to a week-long Diwali break. Anurag Kumar, an IT professional says, “Diwali will be different this year. I won’t be visiting my home town Vizaj but will make the most of it with my friends here [in Delhi]. We have planned a boys trip to Chail.”

Interact with author/sanchita_kalra.

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