International destinations closer home remain a favourite among travellers from Punjab
Chandigarh: Recurrence of fog in the city might disrupt the travel plans of those who are planning to spend New Year outside country. In fact, this has left many travellers from Punjab especially those flying to Dubai, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, worried. The travellers are more concerned about the cancellation of hotel bookings than the delay in flights. Chandigarh-based businessman Tarun Kewin, who is travelling to Dubai this New Year, said, “Airlines refund passengers if flights are cancelled. But when it comes to hotels, once a booking is done you can’t get your money back. At most, the hotel can make arrangements for the other days. It will make my planned trip go haywire. I just can’t miss the fireworks on New Year’s Eve in Dubai.”
Dubai, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand are the most sought-after international destinations for the year-end travellers from Punjab. Manheer Singh Sethi, co-founder, Travkart.com, said Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and Dubai were top destinations last year and remain so this year as well. “A rise of more than 90% is witnessed in comparison to the last year in these destinations. At the end of the year, more than 1,000 people from Punjab are travelling to Dubai, Singapore, and Malaysia. This is upsurge from last year demand where less than 500 people visited these destinations,” he said.
According to Amit Taneja, chief revenue officer at ClearTrip, international travel from Punjab this winter festive season has registered a 55% growth over last year.
According to travel firms, the weather in South East Asia is perfect to enjoy a vacation now. They also said Singapore being costlier, most Indians prefer ringing in New Year in Dubai.
“This region prefers travelling abroad any given day. They would shell out an extra Rs 20,000 to enjoy a vacation in Malaysia than visiting a place within India,” said a city-based travel agent.
A spokesperson of SOTC said, “This is a peak wedding season. We have witnessed heavy booking from honeymooners too. There is at least an increase of 20% booking for Bali and Mauritius.”
Travel firms said Air India starting a direct flight from Chandigarh to Bangkok has given a boost to Thailand tourism from this region.
Punjab travellers are heading to Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Egypt to ring in 2018. Germany, Hong Kong, and Macau featured on the list last year. “Nile cruises are generating a lot of interest among Punjab travellers. We are all sold out for Egypt this season,” said a spokesperson of Cox & Kings, Chandigarh.
Sharat Dhall, COO (B2C), Yatra.com, said there has been an uptick in booking to Europe, which is otherwise a summer destination. “Travellers want to celebrate Christmas at the Eiffel Tower, Santa Claus Village in Finland, Christmas markets in Germany, France, and Croatia,” said Dhall.
South Africa as a destination is also attracting footfall. “This winter, we have booked safaris for Kruger National Park in South Africa,” said Kapil Malhotra, director, Ekido Holiday, Chandigarh.