Summer travel demand reaches new heights in 2023-fueled by long weekends and leisure travel. Long weekend travel has seen an uptick of 30-35 per cent compared to 2019 and leisure travel destinations have seen an uptick of 82 per cent, compared to 2019 levels. People prefer shorter, closer-to-home trips, according to industry players.

Cleartrip’s data showcased a spike of 82.85 per cent on average in summer travel compared to 2019 summers for these destinations. 

Summer is a peak travel season and the demand has reached new heights in 2023. After two years of muted travel, there is a strong desire, especially for international destinations. Fall in domestic fares, due to cuts in ATF prices, as compared to October, November, December period is also providing a strong tailwind to the demand for summer due to improved customer sentiments,” explained Prahlad Krishnamurthi, Chief Business Officer.

Industry players also explained that people are preferring to take smaller, closer-to-city trips over the weekends. Over the past few months, travellers have found it exceedingly difficult to find a hotel room in tourists destinations.

Also read: Leisure travel makes a comeback as intercity travel increases: Uber  

Cleartrip’s data also showed that there has been an uptick in domestic air travel of 6.46 per cent in segments in comparison to the weekend of March. Whereas has seen an uptick of 30-35 per cent for long weekend bookings compared to 2019. Thomas Cook said that it witnessed a 200 per cent rise in bookings for long weekends on a year on year basis. 

Indians are leveraging every opportunity to travel, and we are seeing a definitive return of multiple minications. With Labour Day/Maharashtra Divas falling on Monday, our data reflect brisk demand of over 3x compared to the previous weeks of March/April – for both domestic and short-haul easy visa options, Rajeev Kale - President & Country Head, Holidays, MICE, Visa - Thomas Cook (India) Limited explained. 

Redbus too has said on Saturday that it witnessed an uptick of 20 per cent in bookings ahead of the Labour Day long weekend.

In order to beat the heat, “cooler destinations like Kashmir, Himachal, Uttarakhand, Leh, Kerala, Seven Sisters, and Sikkim are clear favourites,” Kale said. These travels are not limited to young professionals, families and millennials are also looking at drivecations/breaks to nearby offbeat destinations, he explained.

Also read: Indians prefer longer trips this summer

Another reason for this uptick is the ease in connectivity on both domestic and international fronts. For example, SOTC’s internal data indicate that there has been a high demand for visa-on-arrival/easy and quick visa destinations like Singapore, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Oman, Ras Al Khaimah, Thailand, Indonesia, Maldives, Mauritius, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Seychelles; also Bhutan from the Indian subcontinent.

On the domestic front, businessline had reported earlier this month that connectivity to tier-two markets has led to an uptick in travel to those destinations via road, rail, or air. Players believe that as and when connectivity increases, people will continue to explore closer to home destinations, giving a boost to domestic and international travel.