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Kashmir, S-E Asia are hot spots for vacationers

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani Nivedita Ganguly New Delhi /Mumbai | Updated on December 27, 2012

Holiday-goers looking for value-for-money

High costs are definitely not a spoiler for those keen on vacation. The New Year season, the second big holiday time after summer, is seeing people taking a break depending on their purse.

Travel industry people say travellers are deciding on destinations based on the value-for-money they get. But they are definitely not cutting down on the break.

“Travellers are booking well in advance by nearly 3-4 weeks ahead to get value deals. South-East Asian destinations besides Dubai have emerged popular especially for short breaks around the New Year,” said Sanjay Bhasin, Managing Director, Goibibo.com.

Winter in the Valley

Among the domestic destinations, Kashmir is big hit and is 95 per cent sold out especially around New Year Eve. “Kashmir is back on the winter vacation map alongside usual destinations such as Rajasthan, Kerala and Goa,” he added.

Though air fares have gone up significantly, hotel tariffs have not gone up at the same pace. This is because of excess rooms. Hotels have only been able to increase tariffs by 15-20 per cent as opposed to almost 30 per cent increase earlier, said travel companies.

Prateek Mazumdar, Head, Marketing and Strategic Alliances, Yatra, said the online travel firm has seen a huge growth in bookings especially for domestic holidays and South-East Asian packages with nearly 50 per cent of the bookings coming from Tier-II cities. “We have witnessed strong bookings for standalone hotel packages from travellers especially for the New Year weekend opting for driveable destinations,” he added.

Beyond South-East Asia

Some travel firms are seeing demand for international travel packages beyond the South-East. “For our Free Independent Traveller segment, the Mediterranean, France, Italy, Turkey continue to be the top favourites, though interest in South America, Ireland and South Africa is on the rise. We are observing unique potential emerging from destinations like Israel, Morocco and South America,” said Madhav Pai, Director, Leisure Travel (Outbound), Thomas Cook (India).

Among the domestic destinations, hoteliers in Kerala, Port Blair and Goa are reporting robust bookings. “Pudducherry is a place that has seen growth in bookings this year,” said Anil Madhok, MD, Sarovar Hotels.

While many are heading to domestic destinations such Goa where the Sunburn Music Festival begins from Thursday or travelling aboard, hotels are offering special stay packages and food and beverage promotions for the New Year Eve for city dwellers who may not be travelling out to ring in 2013.

Special Packages

For instance: At the Oberoi Mumbai, guests will need to shell about Rs 20,380 (Inclusive of taxes) for a room on a double occupancy basis to check in on December 31 and get entry into the New Year eve celebrations at Eau Bar, get a buffet breakfast, discounts on spa and early check in and check out options. While Westin Gurgaon and Westin Sohna Resort and Spa are offering New Year packages which includes stay, karaoke night, cooking session with the Chef besides a gala dinner party to wrap up the New Year Eve.

ITC Maurya New Delhi is offering special room packages starting at Rs 9,999 plus taxes while its restaurant, the Pavilion, is offering a grand buffet featuring delicacies from across the world. Dum Pukht is offering a five-course menu besides special dinner packages from its other restaurants. “ITC Maurya is the celebration destination for New Year eve as we ensure our guests create memories that they can take forward,” said Anil Chadha General Manager, ITC Maurya.

Le Meriden New Delhi is offering grand buffet packages starting at Rs 10,000-18,000 across its restaurants besides the mega party at the Atrium Lobby.

Meenakshi.v@thehindu.co.in

nivedita.ganguly@thehindu.co.in

Published on December 27, 2012

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