More expensive flights and hotels increase international holiday bills
NEW DELHI : A family of four from southern India is flying this week for their annual summer break to Switzerland, France and Austria. For the past two years of the pandemic, the couple and their two teenage children had not taken international vacations. This time, the business family, who love to travel in style, is shelling out ₹32 lakh for the 12-day vacation, nearly double what he would have paid in 2019 for a similar trip.
The travel agency, Pathfinders Holidays, said most of the families they organize holidays for have almost doubled their budget for trips to Europe and other favorite international destinations such as the UK, Australia and even South Africa, as holiday spending soars.
Yet travel agencies are seeing a significant increase in demand from Indian tourists for overseas holidays, despite ticket prices which in some cases are almost double what they were in summer 2019. and hotel rates up 30-40% on average, for places frequented by Indians.
Karan Vakharia, director of Pathfinders Holidays, said flight and hotel costs were rising rapidly. “Sometimes it is difficult to maintain prices for customers because there is so much demand. But it’s not like customers don’t want to spend, despite a more than 100% increase in ticket prices and a 30-40% increase in hotel prices,” he said.
According to Indiver Rastogi, president and group head of global business travel at Thomas Cook (India) and SOTC, the surge in demand for flights has driven up airfares, especially as jet fuel prices are at a record level and that available flights have not yet returned. at pre-pandemic levels. The favorite destinations for Indian travelers remain Switzerland, France and Italy, followed by the United Kingdom, Egypt, Turkey and the United States. While flights to these places are 25-30% more expensive, there has been a 25% increase in fares to Abu Dhabi and Dubai, Rastogi said. Flights to Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and the Maldives remain almost the same as in 2019, he added.
Arun Ashok, regional manager for India and the Middle East at online travel agency Luxury Escapes, said average order value (AOV) for key destinations had soared, up nearly 25% for the Maldives and around 13% for Thailand compared to 2019 figures. “However, nowhere is this increase as strong as in Dubai, where the AOV has increased by more than 60%. We looked at the average length of stay for each of these destinations which is more or less similar over the two periods of 2022 and 2019 for travel between April and June of this year,” he said.
Ashok said the US, UAE and Maldives are the top three searched destinations on their platform and all saw significant increases from 2019 (+32%, +82%, +62% , respectively) in terms of research interest.
Daniel D’souza, President and Country Head, Holidays, SOTC Travel, added that he has seen overall holiday travel costs increase by 25-40% across all countries. However, he expects this to stabilize, with airlines gradually increasing capacity and routes. He said short-haul favorites are seeing growing demand and the corresponding costs of holidays to Dubai, Abu-Dhabi – Yas Island, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam are seeing an increase. . While medium-haul destinations like Turkey and Egypt have seen a 10% increase in the cost of vacations, long-haul destinations like Europe, the United States and Australia are at 25%.
Rakshit Desai, managing director for India of travel retailer Flight Center Travel Group, said Canada and the United States have seen the biggest increase in airfares, with an average increase of 80-90% compared to pre-covid rates.