India emerges as hot destination ahead of World Cup

India emerges as hot destination ahead of World Cup

New Delhi: With a few days left for the cricket World Cup to kick off, the tour packages for all the India matches besides the semi-finals and the final are almost sold out, according to the travel partners of the ICC.

At the same time, travel firms that are not officially associated with the ICC are stepping up efforts to cash in on the excitement around the mega-sporting event to be played in the sub-continent from 19 February to 2 April.

UK-based ‘Cricket Logistics´ which is the official travel and tour provider for the International Cricket Council (ICC) had appointed TUI India and Mumbai-based Cutting Edge Events to sell special travel packages.

These include hotel stay, air travel, meals, match tickets and transport in India.

While India is the most sought after team, packages designed around South Africa and England are next on the popularity list amongst the fans.

“The response has been great. Most of the inventories for India matches, semi-finals and finals have already been sold. We have kept some inventory to be offered later," TUI chief operating officer Rajiv Duggal said.

He said, TUI is offering packages priced between 10,000 to 45,000 per person per match.

“There is a lot of interest from corporates and we are also getting individuals booking on the website," he added.

India will play six qualifying matches and can play three more matches if it reaches the final.

Similarly, according to the co-founder of Cutting Edge Events, Mayank Khandwala, because of the limited availability of inventory, the packages are selling like hot cakes.

“We are also getting a lot of inquiries and bookings from international travellers from Middle-East, Singapore, Africa and Hong Kong," Khandwala said.

Besides the official partners, online travel services providers, including MakeMyTrip and Cleartrip, have also seen increase in bookings for air tickets and hotels.

“We are not promoting any packages for the Cup. However, we have seen a massive jump in air tickets and hotel bookings done on our website," Cleartrip vice president Business Development Tarique Khatri said.

For instance there has been a 100% jump in air travel and 120% jump in hotel bookings on Cleartrip’s website for 27 February when India will play England in Bangalore, compared to the same date in 2010.

Similar pattern has emerged in case of bookings on other days of India matches at different venues.

“The travel business overall is growing and the World Cup is giving a boost to it," he added.

Even MakeMyTrip has seen increase in queries for the cricket season from both India and abroad.

“We have been receiving queries from Australia, UK and UAE for World cup. We already have few groups and lot of individual travelers flying in for cricket and extending their holiday to explore rest of India," MakeMy Trip co-founder Keyur Joshi said.

Another company, Travel ChaCha, is promoting match specific tour packages for destinations like Sri Lanka, Goa, Mumbai, New Delhi and Chandigarh.

“We have been getting around two to three enquiries a day for such packages and till date we have finalised 66 tour packages from all parts of World," Travelchacha CEO Sanjay Bhasin said.

This time there is 30% to 40% increase in tour packages for cricket World Cup,“ he added.