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With two long holiday weekends later in August, hospitality companies and travel agencies are seeing a massive surge in demand for travel and accommodations. Companies such as MakeMyTrip, Thomas Cook India, EaseMyTrip and ixigo said premium stays are fully booked.

For tour operator Thomas Cook India, demand for domestic travel for the upcoming Raksha Bandhan-Independence Day long weekend, which falls between August 11 and August 15, has surpassed its pre-pandemic levels by about 10%. “And despite supply and visa constraints, our international demand is 15-20% higher for the same period 2019," said Rajeev Kale, president and country head, holidays, MICE, visa at the firm. The company has seen its pan-India demand rise more than two-fold versus last month for this upcoming weekend.

Devendra Parulekar, founder, SaffronStays said for the Independence Day weekend, 80% of the company’s listed holiday homes across Maharashtra have already been sold out. The Khandala and Lonavala regions have seen sales of 77% with maximum bookings coming in for bigger villas for large groups. Karjat has seen 85% uptake of inventory till date.

Travel operator ixigo is seeing a 100% increase in search queries with a mix of leisure travel, staycations and people travelling to their home towns for the long break. Beach destinations like Goa have also seen more than a 100% increase in flight search queries. Vipul Prakash, COO at MakeMyTrip said the travel sentiment for this period is highly positive --- with bookings for the upcoming long-weekend surpassing bookings made during the long weekend around Good Friday this year. Goa, Udaipur, Jaipur, Pondicherry, Lonavala, Wayanad, Ooty and Rishikesh are some of the most booked destinations.

Boutique hotel firm The Postcard Hotels & Resorts, The Roseate, SaffronStays, Conrad Hotels said they are seeing nearly a house full on both weekends -- Independence Day and Krishna Janmashtami which falls on August 18 --- and their room rates have jumped. The Postcard Hotels & Resorts, a chain of bespoke luxury properties, has taken an increase of about 40% in average room rates for the upcoming long weekend.

The brand’s three hotels in Goa have been full for the last 15 days and the company is expecting a similar trend this month. “And it’s not just Goa but also destinations like Gir where the main park is yet to open (in October) where we have seen an increase. We have also seen a pick up in demand from Bhutan and Sri Lanka. A lot of Indians are planning trips on both this weekend and the weekend after which is Janmashtami," said its founder Kapil Chopra.

Kush Kapoor, CEO at the upscale Roseate Hotels & Resorts said they have seen traction for their Rishikesh resort, The Roseate Ganges. The company has launched a drivecation package which includes pick up and drop, all meals and spa which is also seeing a lot of demand. “Even though inbound travel continues to languish, domestic demand has added significantly to numbers, people now want to check into a hotel in their city over a long weekend when they can’t take flights or road trips," said Kapoor.

The company has registered a 20-30% growth in ARRs for its The Roseate Ganges property and its upcoming weekends are sold out. Its occupancy levels across all its hotels in India have now surpassed pre-covid levels starting January 2022. For its Delhi properties, the average room rates for The Roseate New Delhi and Roseate House Aerocity are higher by 15% than pre-Covid days, both for weekends and weekdays.

At EaseMyTrip, the company has seen about 40,000 forward flight bookings and approximately 700 hotel bookings for the 11-15 August long weekend. The company expects this number to jump as there’s still time to book for the extended weekends.

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