Leisure Travel: Maldives and Europe Travel in Punekar Minds as Countries Open to Indian Tourists | Pune News


With around 12 million fully vaccinated Indians in the country, the journey is back on the minds of many. After about 18 months of being locked away at home, travel enthusiasts are ready to go all out and head to international destinations to relax and rejuvenate. Since the 2020 travel lists have never been checked, people want to make up for the loss in 2021. And with countries opening up to fully vaccinated people who have negative RT-PCR reports, travel requests are being made. Approvals are up more than 90 percent, compared to last year, according to tour operators in the city.
According to an InterMiles survey of 11,500 people across India, 65% of people have planned leisure getaways, while 54% plan to travel to meet family and friends. The same survey also listed the reasons for traveling as – relaxation, change of location, leaving behind the monotony of 2020, among others.
Sarang Bhide, owner of Sarang Global Tours, surveyed the Punekars to see how willing they are to travel. According to his findings, “65% of people want to travel for pleasure, while 26% were not sure whether or not they were ready to travel. Only 9 percent of people said exclusively that they did not want to travel at the moment, ”he shares.
Leisure and honeymoon trips top the list
Since July, Maldives has been a destination with open arms for Indian tourists. Naturally, most of the bookings that tour operators get are for this destination. “Many people who got married amid the pandemic missed their honeymoon last year due to travel restrictions. After taking both doses of the vaccine, most couples inquired about Maldives honeymoon packages. Almost 90% of requests currently concern the island nation, ”informs Arpit Khare, owner of Carvaan Holidays.
After the honeymoon trips, requests for pleasure trips to France, Dubai and travel in Euro rocked the phones of travel agents. Owner of Aashapuri Holidays, Sujit Kotkar shares: “Safety and no unwanted restrictions are now a priority for tourists. Even though we plan vacations for them, they do their research well and call us for packages to unusual destinations in Singapore, France and other places in Europe. Puneites are also planning to travel to Dubai for the next exhibition, which is a huge attraction for shopping enthusiasts. At the same time last year, we had little or no business, especially with international parcels. But now we’re getting almost 50 requests a day.
Experts say …
“We have seen a sharp increase of over 100% in bookings month over month; and a strong pipeline of queries across India and international destinations. While the Maldives, Russia and Egypt topped our booking list, positive announcements from the destination and consular authorities, gave a boost to bookings for Switzerland, France and Germany. The key segments that are experiencing high demand for travel to Pune and Maharashtra are multigenerational family units, young professionals / millennials, couples and honeymooners. – Rajeev Kale, President and Country Head Thomas Cook (India) Limited
“Leisure travel bookings in particular increased for the Maldives and Europe by more than 90 percent from almost none when the first wave of COVID subsided.” – Jyoti Mayal, President of the Association of Travel Agents of India
Expect more hikes during the holiday season
Countries like Russia, South Africa, Iceland, Egypt and Turkey accept Indian tourists. Recently, highly anticipated places such as Switzerland, France, Spain and Germany have also resumed processing visas of all categories. Following this announcement, travel agents expect a further increase in the number of inquiries and reservations. “At the start of the year, requests were mostly for visas and educational travel. With the opening of exotic locations for fully vaccinated people and those with negative RT-PCR reports 72 hours before travel, the focus has shifted to leisure travel. We expect the number to increase by September, with the holidays coming, ”says Raman Nutte, owner of MyTravelTrip.
Other travel agents agree and say they expect a 50% increase in bookings between September and January. “With more vacations in hand, working professionals are looking to travel abroad during the holiday season. Likewise, the season also brings some attractive offers, so we would expect larger groups to come out then. In addition, if the expected third wave does not happen, we also expect couple travel and destination wedding bookings, ”adds Sarang.
Preference for domestic travel still high
Since many people between the ages of 18 and 44 have not yet been fully immunized, families are opting for national holidays. “National places like Ladhak, Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Goa are the most popular destinations,” says Arpit. Sarang adds that their survey of domestic travel found that 51% wanted pleasure travel, while 36% were for adventure travel, and the pilgrimage had fallen to 13% as temples and shrines did not. not yet open for travelers in many places.
Popular destinations abroad
  • Maldives
  • France
  • Dubai
  • Switzerland
  • Spain

Travelers say …
Most of us had planned big getaways and long-awaited reunions for 2020, but the pandemic has brought those plans to a halt. As my wife and I are now fully vaccinated, we plan to travel with friends to explore the countryside in France. “- Neeraj Gore, computer scientist from Pune
We had to move our plan of celebrating the first anniversary from last year to now. As soon as we learned that the Maldives was open to Indian tourists, we immediately planned our getaway in September. If it’s not the first, at least the second anniversary is going to be awesome – Sharon Thomas, Advertising Professional, Pune


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