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NEW DELHI : With restrictions on international travel lifted, the leisure and travel industry is expecting a higher influx of international tourists, as well as an increase in domestic travel.

“We expect 10-15% of revenue increase, including from inbound travellers in October-December quarter, considering international travel norms have been relaxed. While we don’t see inbound tourism as a significant contributor to leisure bookings like pre-pandemic times, the increase in inbound business will be from meetings and incentives to our Aerocity property and it is being driven by travellers from the Middle East and the US," said Kush Kapoor, chief executive officer of Bird Group-owned Roseate Hotels and Resorts.

The company is also expecting significant domestic bookings for weddings, off-sites, and conferences at its properties. “Domestic demand has made up for inbound travel and in fact pushed room rates higher," he added.

In the next two quarters, Radisson Hotels expects higher inflow of international travellers for tourist destinations such as Agra and Rajasthan. Zubin Saxena, managing director and vice president of operations, South Asia, Radisson Hotel Group, said the company will see significant growth across most markets it operates in. Inbound tourists should start arriving, in addition to the existing domestic demand, he said, adding people’s travel appetite is growing stronger and businesses in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru will continue to grow on strong occupancies and rates.

Travel partners and agencies of The Taj Hotel & Convention Centre in Agra have started receiving bookings from international tourists following a decline in covid-19 cases, fully operational international flights and growing traveller confidence.

“Hopefully, international tourism combined with wedding season sales will pull us out of the quagmire of losses the pandemic had thrown us into. Most inbound tourists are from the US, Germany and Spain," said Paritosh Ladhani, joint managing director, Sincere Developers, the company that owns Taj, Agra. Within six months, it expects 30% of its business to come from international traffic compared to around 60% in the corresponding period of FY20.

Hotels across Mumbai and Delhi-NCR are likely to see higher occupancy over the next three months as corporate events, weddings and festive celebrations bounce back. With no restrictions on capacity, Delhi could see a 15% surge in travel demand before Diwali, which is expected to increase after the festivals as the wedding season begins. Roseate Hotels and Resorts, which has two hotels in Delhi—one upscale and one luxury—is likely to see occupancies and room rates improve in the October-December quarter.

According to ‘PULSE: India’s Festive Season Outlook’ a report by travel technology firm RateGain, compared to 2019, inbound arrivals are expected to increase about 17% in Delhi and 4% in Mumbai. RateGain processes electronic transactions for travel and hospitality firms.

Delhi and Mumbai are witnessing an increase in arrivals from all international markets, and traffic from North America is estimated to rise by about 20% month-on-month till November. The report said Thailand and Australia are witnessing an average increase of about 15% followed by Europe at nearly 10%.

For Luxury Escapes India, early enquiries for inbound travel are coming from markets like the UK and Australia. However, they will probably likely see a return to pre-pandemic levels of inbound travel towards the last few months of 2023. Domestic travel on the other hand continues to be strong. Given issues with visa processing times and international airfare, many in India are still sticking to domestic hotspots like Rajasthan, Goa and Coorg for their Diwali holiday plans.

At SOTC Travel, customers are now booking their holidays 30-45 days in advance. For the month of August, the company has surpassed its pre-pandemic numbers with an overall growth of 113% and its forward booking position for the festive season is at over 20%. Thomas Cook India, to catalyse forward demand has introduced special offers for the festive season like ‘Buy One Get One-Companion Free’ and early bird offers across different holidays.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Varuni Khosla

Varuni Khosla is a journalist with close to 14 years of experience in writing business news stories for mainstream newspaper companies like Mint and The Economic Times. She reports and writes on luxury and lifestyle brands, hospitality and tourism news, the business of sports, the business of advertising and marketing and alcohol brands.
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