Updated March 2nd, 2024 at 21:43 IST

Why costly domestic airfares are forcing holidayers plan overseas tours?

Amid high domestic airfares, a large chunk of tourists are opting travel to Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.

Reported by: Saqib Malik
International air travel penetration remained low in India:CAPA | Image:Unsplash
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Summer and travel: A warmer-than-normal summer is expected to be witnessed in India this year, with El Nino conditions expected to continue at least until May, the India Meteorological Department said on Friday. As per the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), there could be more heatwave days than normal over northeast peninsular India, a region that includes Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, north interior Karnataka, and many parts of Maharashtra and Odisha. 

Notably, tourists from the western part of the country, and even southern India beeline hill resorts in the northern parts, especially the hill states located in the foothills of the Himalayan range of mountains. 

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Costlier air travel 

Aviation experts and travel trade operators from Maharashtra, with whom Republic Business spoke with, said the skyrocketing domestic airfares, especially to tourism destinations in north India, are turning out to be a matter of concern for holidaymakers this year. 

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“The spurt in airfare in the last few days has been significant and is forcing many holidaymakers to make a change in their travel itinerary in order to accommodate budgets. The hike in airfares to northern India has seen an almost two-fold increase,” said Dhairyasheel Vandekar. 

As a result of the Met department’s weather alert, travellers from western and southern India, who often visit hills in northern India, have already started making advanced tour bookings for even May and June. Tour bookings for overseas destinations are also catching up with travellers, as air fares to destinations such as Dubai, Singapore, and Thailand are seeing a demand. 

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The weatherman’s forecast for a warmer summer, has seen travel and tour bookings gain place. Abhijeet Patil, Chairman Raja Rani Travels told Republic Business that travellers from Maharashtra, Gujarat, and the southern states, are traditionally known for planning their vacations to north India during April and May, as western and southern zones experience dry and hot weather conditions during these months. 

"Chandigarh and the national capital Delhi are the core air travel hubs, from where travellers connect to other destinations in states such as Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir. The one-way airfare per person from Pune to Leh surged to approximately Rs 23,000, compared to the airfares between Rs 10,000 to 12,000 seen last year," said Patil. 

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Global destinations 

Notably, almost all airlines have signalled to press an airfare hike in days to come, owing to costlier aviation fuel, airport taxes, and above all surge in passenger demand. “The airfares have already seen an increase and we expect this to see an uptick in bookings.

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Image credit: Unsplash 

April is the time of the year when seasonal gardens and other scenic locations are in full bloom, and attract visitors in large numbers,” said Raja Rani Tours Chairman, adding that even room tariffs, in both budget category as well as the luxury class of hospitality properties have started witnessing an increase. 

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“Domestic airfares have always been a bane of tourism predatory pricing and has put domestic tourism in tremendous peril for decades now. It is only the sheer volume of India's population, that demand is always higher than supply, hence in spite of the high costs, popular tourist destinations often get sold out,” said Patil. 

However, in the bargain, all stakeholders have to suffer, as they have to reduce pricing to sell in a competitive market, added Patil.  “Yet a large chunk of tourists are going abroad as it much cheaper to fly to say Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sri Lanka, Thailand - than many popular Indian tourist spots,” added the Raja Rani Tours Chairman. 

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Published March 2nd, 2024 at 21:36 IST