As India enters its election season, a notable surge in travel activity is observed across various modes of transportation and accommodation.

Travel industry players report increased bookings for both air and bus travel, particularly from metro cities to tier 1 and 2 cities like Patna, Jaipur, Kochi and Assam. This spike in demand coincides with the anticipated travel of migrant workers back home to cast their votes.

According to industry players, the demand for both air and bus travel has risen significantly over the next two months, particularly from metro cities to tier 1 and 2 cities like Patna, Jaipur, Kochi, Assam, among others.

Indiver Rastogi, President & Group Head of Global Business Travel at Thomas Cook (India) and SOTC Travel, noted, “Our data indicate an increase of 8-30 per cent compared to the same period last year. Another observation is that with most authorities declaring a holiday on election day, India’s young working professionals are clubbing this, especially if around a weekend, to spend time with family.”

Airfare data from ixigo reveal notable year-on-year differences, with routes like New Delhi to Ranchi and Pune to Nagpur witnessing significant increases of 31 per cent and 39 per cent, respectively. Conversely, the New Delhi to Amritsar route shows the smallest increase, at just 6 per cent.

Similarly, data from SOTC showcase notable increases in airfares from major cities to various destinations, coinciding with India’s election year and the anticipated travel of migrant workers back home to vote. Mumbai fares to Patna have risen by 16 per cent, while fares to Kolkata have increased by 8 per cent. From Delhi, fares to Patna have surged by 25 per cent, with similar increases to other destinations like Kochi, Assam, and Indore.

Surge in fares

The surge in air travel demand around polling dates is resulting in cascading jumps in airfares, particularly from major metros like Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Pune to home States. This is also in turn pushing people to take busses. Abhibus’ analysis of bus travel trends reveals a notable surge in travel activity across various States. Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Bihar, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh experienced significant increases ranging from 10 per cent to 27 per cent in bus travel demand this election season. Rohit Sharma, COO of Abhibus, commented, “Election tourism is a fascinating phenomenon that reflects the deep-rooted commitment of citizens towards democratic participation.”

In the hotel segment, Cleartrip’s data indicates an uptick in hotel bookings in several cities including Bengaluru, Mysore, Trivandrum, Kochi, Darjeeling, Udaipur, and Jodhpur, as campaigners flood the cities and occupancy levels rise in the hinterlands of India.