It's raining holidays the coming week. Combine the Monday national holiday with a few days of casual leave, a restricted holiday and the next weekend and one gets more than a week, or rather, nine blissful days of chutti. This is monsoon holidays for many, and they are taking off for holidays, even if it is not far from the metros they live and work in.
Traditional picturesque destinations of Jaipur, Manali, Shimla, Mussorrie, Nainital, Goa and Mount Abu could get crowded, as more are travelling on such holidays than they did last year, finds a quick survey done by trade body ASSOCHAM. Those with deep pockets prefer a quick holiday to internationally renowned low-cost destinations like Thailand, Mauritius, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai.
Tour operators are offering exciting new packages for singles, couples, families and corporate houses to cash in on this newly developed concept of monsoon tourism.
This time it is from August 13—if like government employees, you have a five-day week with Saturday and Sunday off—to August 21, which takes in its fold two two-day weekends, Independence Day and Raksha Bandhan, both within the same week.
Forty-two per cent more of short duration domestic travellers would be driving or flying for leisure during this weekend than when compared to the same period in 2015, the survey found. Many are also availing of a clutch of discounts and cash backs from travel portals and flying to destinations within the country. Almost half of the employees have applied for two to three casual leaves or restricted holidays to make it an extended holiday, the ASSOCHAM survey found.
The survey was conducted in major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Lucknow and Ahmedabad and as many as 350 tour operators were contacted for the same. The estimates also take into account feedback received from various tour operators, travel portals and hoteliers.
Destinations like Agra, Bharatpur bird sanctuary, Dharamshala, Haridwar, Jaipur, Jim Corbett, Lansdowne, Mathura-Vrindavan, Manali, Mussoorie, Nainital, Rishikesh, Shimla and Vaishno Devi are among top weekend getaway destinations, Delhi tour operators revealed. Working couples in Mumbai are planning a quick holiday this long weekend in Mahabaleshwar, Khandala, Lonavala and Matheran as tour operations have received maximum bookings in these areas.
The survey also revealed the rising trend of Indian travellers looking for short but multiple holiday experiences in a year.
There is also an increase in religious tourism and footfall at destinations like Golden Temple (Amritsar), Vaishno Devi, Khatu Shayam (Rajasthan), Udaipur, Ashtavinayaka and Char Dham is most likely to increase three-fold this weekend as 20 to 25 per cent of overall bookings are to spiritual tourism destinations.
The hills and beaches, however, continue to be big attractions with Goa being the preferred destination. Jaipur in Rajasthan and Agra in Uttar Pradesh, the two angles of the Golden Triangle, also attract a number tourists. Night camping, trekking, forests trails and rafting—which are best enjoyed during the rains—are fast catching up with young travelers.
"Domestic travel gets a boost during the short holidays...Though the required infrastructure needs to be jacked up," said D.S. Rawat, secretary general of ASSOCHAM.