By Reya Mehrotra
On and off lockdowns for a year-and-a-half have given rise to a lust for travel among people like never before. Thousands have thronged hill stations and beaches to take a break from staying at home. As per a report by Yatra.com, staycations, driveable vacations, workcations, etc, are some of the new travel trends. Thomas Cook India and SOTC Travel’s joint survey, Third Holiday Readiness report (June) identifies regions in India that are trending as vacation hotspots.
In the first four months of the year, tourism boomed in Kashmir. With direct flights to Srinagar, hotel bookings had been running full till April. Now, as restrictions are receding, Kashmir is readying to welcome tourists again. The tourism department too had been campaigning aggressively to attract tourists to which resulted in a few films being shot there.
Goa is the place where the party begins. The beach state has been attracting tourists since the lockdowns ended. Popular beaches in Goa include Calangute, Baga, Candolim. Popular places are Grand Island, Dudhsagar Waterfalls, Fort Aguada, Tito’s Street and more. A number of people also chose to travel to places like Goa to work remotely from locations with good internet connection. For workcations, booking from metro cities such as New Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai have been on the rise.
The scenic mountains and natural landscapes of Himachal Pradesh have attracted the most tourists ever since the lockdowns have opened. Images of traffic jams on roads leading to the state have gone viral. The trend of travel to driveable distances where accommodation is secluded is behind the rush. Places like Shimla, Manali, Kasol are the most popular destinations in Himachal.
The hill station town of Pune is known for its greenery and calm. With safety and hygiene being priorities, travellers are preferring hill stations, owing to their natural environment and sparse population. Tiger’s Leap, Tikona Fort, Bhaja Caves, Bhushi Dam, Karla Caves, Duke’s Nose are some popular tourist attractions of Lonavala. Sanitisation and safety measures are paramount, so Yatra has launched ‘Clean Pass’ to ensure safety measures are in place across its cabs, bus service and partner hotels in India. Their ‘Yatra Service Assured Packages’ ensure sanitisation and precautionary measures are in place in their partner hotels.
The tranquil backwaters of Kerala call for a long vacation. Kerala is famous for its houseboats, waterfalls, green hills, eco tourism, tea plantations, Ayurvedic treatments and architecture. Travel trends like staycation and revenge travel, among others, are bringing tourists to Kerala. For staycations, Saturdays are the peak periods followed by Fridays and Sundays for properties with good staycation options. Revenge travel has also gained traction. It simply means making the most of the unlock period and planning getaways and trips after not travelling for a long time. Travellers are also booking closer to the travel date due to uncertainty of travel restrictions.
Gujarat’s hill station Saputara is a popular tourist destination. Its popular places include Sunrise Point, Vansda National Park, Hatgadh Fort, Saputara Lake, Sunset Point and more. A number of travellers are preferring hotels with adequate sanitisation and safety processes. Hence, a rise in bookings for four- and five-star hotel properties has been noticed. The percentage of booking four- and five-star properties is also much higher than other categories of hotels.
Talking about international travel, Abu Dhabi in Dubai has become a tourist attraction once again after the unlock. The grand city has a number of tourist places to visit. Its most popular destination is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque which is the city’s landmark building. Mangrove Kayaking tours, popular museum Louvre, the theme park Ferrari World, which replicates the thrill of Formula One racing, boat tours, etc, are some other popular tourist hotspots and things to do in Abu Dhabi. Desert safaris to Liwa Oasis or Al Khatim desert too are quite popular.
Even before the lockdown, Maldives was trending as a popular vacation destination owing to its proximity to India. Known for its crystal-clear waters and resorts, Maldives offers a good vacation option for couples or families. Apart from proving to be a calm getaway, the break can be full of activities like snorkelling, watersports, dolphin- and whale-watching and scubadiving. It is also popular for its beaches and spas. Its Old Friday Mosque, Male, Hulhumale Island, National Museum, Kudahuvadhoo Island, Gan Island, Utheemu Island, Male fish market, etc, are some places to visit.