With just about three weeks to go for the Olympics Games, Indians are busy packing their bags and making a beeline to London. Airline companies such as Jet Airways and Emirates have all their seats booked in flights headed to London in July.

International Air Transport Association estimates 600 million people are set to travel to London during July and August, when the Olympics are scheduled to be held. One can count on a number of well-heeled Indians contributing to that number, making a mad dash to the games.

The opening and closing ceremonies and sports events such as hockey and athletics are the biggest draws for Indian travellers.

Tour operators and travel portal executives told Business Line that they have seen a 15-20 per cent jump in bookings to London. “Sports enthusiasts, high net worth individuals (HNIs) and corporate clients have shown considerable interest in the Olympic Games packages. On the basis of bookings so far, travellers prefer, on an average, a five-night stay with the inclusion of two Olympic events,” said S. D. Nandakumar, Head, Tour Operating-B2B, SOTC.

SOTC Sports is the authorised marketing agent of Prestige Ticketing Ltd, the official providers of Olympics Games corporate hospitality packages. Event ticket with hospitality package starts from £495 per person (Rs 42,000). Packages include top category tickets, fine dining and entertainment at official Game venues.

Travel portal MakeMyTrip also has launched special Olympic travel packages. “We have created a special itinerary for travellers heading to the UK. The metros are leading the demand for Olympic packages, with many planning to combining their vacation with the Games,” said Mohit Gupta, Chief Business Officer, Holidays, MakeMyTrip.

Tour operator Thomas Cook has over 1,000 short-break packages for budget consumers and extravagant sports enthusiasts alike, with itineraries that suit specific requirements and price points. The ‘Games Break’ package starts at Rs 10,999 (per person on a twin-sharing basis), and includes one night’s accommodation, ticket to an event, and a London travel card for the day of the event, Thomas Cook said.

The volume of bookings to London for travel portal WEGO also has doubled from February, reaching an all-time high in May. “We have been seeing a lot more travel to London out of Bangalore, Kolkata, Delhi and Hyderabad,” said Jackson Fernandez, General Manager, WEGO India.

niveditag@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on July 6, 2012)
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