Picture this: deafening roar of the crowd, tension in the air, and players donning national colors. Yes! We’re talking about India’s religion ‘cricket’. This year, India is hosting the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup. As the clock ticks closer to October 5, the day of the inauguration, the country’s cricket tourism seems to be reaching a new frenzy.

And clearly, cricket enthusiasts from across the globe are flocking to the country, with cities like Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, and Ahmedabad - that are hosting key matches - witnessing a surge in hotel bookings 15-20 per cent over the same period last year; while flight fares have also surged two-three times closer to match dates.

“Airfares have skyrocketed by two to three times their usual rates, while the cost of luxury hotels has witnessed an astonishing surge of 10 to 15 times. Even more budget-friendly options have seen their room rates double,” Bharatt Malik, Senior VP of Flights and Hotel Business at Yatra Online, told businessline.

India vs Pakistan: the biggest draw

One of the biggest draws, though, is the India-Pakistan match scheduled on October 14 and to be hosted in Ahmedabad.

And as the case may be, Ahmedabad is witnessing a never before seen surge in hotel rates that are around ₹50,000 per day across five-star properties - up by a few times; in comparison to Delhi or Lucknow, where room rate increases are “more modest” at 15-20 per cent, industry insiders say.

Online travel agency, yatra.com. said, it experienced a jump of 70-90 per cent in hotel bookings because of the India-Pakistan match being hosted there. Relatively smaller inventory compared to bigger cities is another reason driving up room rates.

“The clash between these two cricket powerhouses, India and Pakistan, has resulted in a five-fold increase in hotel tariffs for that night, with luxury hotels charging as high as ₹50,000 per night,” Nishant Pitti, CEO & Co-Founder, EaseMyTrip said.

Flight tickets to Ahmedabad are witnessing a similar never-before-see surge. Fares have ‘tripled’, as compared to normal times.

A quick search on Google, three months ahead of the big-match day, shows that the least expensive flight, from Delhi to Ahmedabad, for October 14 is priced between ₹8,000 and ₹10,000. This is already double than the normal fair on this route, which is around ₹3,400-5,200.

Cashing in

Industry players are leaving no stone unturned to cash in on India’s cricket frenzy.

MakeMyTrip, the country’s largest online travel agency, is expanding its inventory of homestays across key cities, “recognising the growing demand for alternative accommodation”. According to Parikshit Choudhury, CBO of Alternate Accommodation & Customer Contact Group at MakeMyTrip, there is a “surge in search for homestays”, indicating willingness to tap new avenues.

OYO has announced plans to add 500 new hotels in host cities within the next three months. Its portfolio covers over 1,68,711 hotels and homes across 35 countries.