Even as India continues to see around 40,000 new coronavirus cases every day, and total number touching 8.59 million, leisure travel seems to be catching up in the country. According to data from hospitality firm OYO, for Diwali alone, more and more people are ready to step out and are preferring inter-state road trips and beach destinations.
According to OYO’s Diwali booking trends compiled between November 1-7, Jaipur, Kerala, Goa, Visakhapatnam, and Varanasi are the most popular leisure destinations.
Across South India, travellers from Chennai and Bengaluru are heading out on road trips to Kochi in Kerala, the southwest coast of India. Goa, on the other hand, is attracting travellers from across the country. The majority of bookings are from Pune, followed by Bengaluru and Hyderabad.
It is pertinent to note that Kerala has seen a huge spike is COVID-19 cases over the past few weeks. On Monday, it reported 3,593 new cases, with the death toll rising to 1,714. Goa too, has been seeing a steady rise in cases.
As per the overall travel trends across India, between April 2020 and September 2020, OYO said that there was an uptick in bookings across business destinations including Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Mumbai, and Kolkata. On the other hand, among leisure cities, OYO’s booking data also highlights that some cities like Shimla, Manali, Munnar, Ooty and Gangtok that didn’t enjoy high demand compared to other tourist hotspots during pre-COVID days are now increasingly showing positive signs of rising bookings since September 2020. In Shimla, OYO observed a whopping 280% month-on-month growth in bookings for September 2020.
Commenting on this trend, Harshit Vyas, SVP & COO - Franchise Business, OYO India & South Asia, said, “The festive season combined with gradual unlocks has resulted in a surge in leisure travel since September 2020. As per our Diwali booking trends, with social distancing becoming a way of life and people opting for safer travel options, road trips are here to stay, therefore, leading to an increase in inter-state travel during Diwali and the upcoming holiday season this year. We expect leisure destinations to continue gaining momentum in the coming months with rising consumer optimism for travel. We would also like to express our gratitude towards our asset partners and all employees who have worked tirelessly to ensure that we stand ready to welcome travellers safely once again.”