Despite Covid-19 surge, travel bookings see negligible drop

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India is seeing a surge in Covid-19 cases, but that hasn’t deterred the spirit of travel enthusiasts. Though curbs are in place in Delhi and some neighbouring states, youngsters seem more than willing to escape the city for a quick break, albeit cautiously. Moreover, with many companies going back to the work from home setup, professionals are game to go on a workation to someplace nearby for a breather.

Namit Kapoor, a software engineer from Gurugram, is spending this weekend in Mussoorie to escape the curfew in Delhi. “We’ll return on Monday morning. Everything will be shut in Delhi, so we can have a mini vacay with precautions before more curbs are imposed,” he says. And Kritika Jain, a chartered accountant from Delhi, has planned a road trip to Shimla with colleagues: “We’ll be working from there. Our hotel needs negative RT-PCR reports of guests.”

Resort owners say there have been cancellations, but not a lot. “We are seeing longer stays and rescheduling, along with a certain percentage of cancellations. Also, guests who have recovered from Covid-19 are willing to travel to drivable destinations,” says Allen Machado, CEO, Niraamaya Surya Samudra.

Another reason for steady bookings, industry players say, is that people want to avoid crowded cities when Covid-19 cases are on the rise. “Families do not want to return to the city due to the [Covid-19] surge, and some companies have announced WFH. So, guests are taking advantage of that,” says Pranav Maheshwari, co-founder, Vista Rooms.

Prahlad Krishnamurthi, chief business officer (CBO), Cleartrip, says: “Travellers are looking for flexible options that have them covered in case of a sudden change in regulations due to the new Covid-19 variant. Leisure destinations such as Goa, Chandigarh and Jaipur are showing strong uptick compared to 2021.”

Leisure travel may see a slight downfall in the coming weeks, feels Manish Rathi, CEO and co-founder of IntrCity. “People will postpone family vacations as the virus spreads. There may be some impact on leisure trips to the hills or pilgrimage sites. At the moment, we’re seeing a minor impact on daily ticket bookings at a few leisure destinations,” he adds.

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