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Photo: Alamy
Photo: Alamy

Nearly 70% of Indians opt out of festive travel

With uncertainty on travel bookings, 68% of survey respondents said they will not book till closer to the travel date

NEW DELHI : An overwhelming majority of Indians intend to avoid travelling during the festive season, which begins in October, with the coronavirus tally crossing the four million mark and daily cases around 85,000, according to a survey of 25,000 people in 239 districts conducted by social media and community platform LocalCircles.

August and September are the favourite travel booking months for Indians. Durga Puja, Dussehra, Diwali and Chhath festivals all typically fall in October-November and people in many parts of India plan their travel home or vacation during these months, all the more so that schoolchildren also get to enjoy a holiday.

However, 69% of the people said they will not travel this year and would rather stay at home. Another 3% said they will be travelling to a holiday destination, 13% said they will visit family and friends, and 3% said they will do both. Another 12% were unsure about what they would do. This means that only 19% of citizens said they will travel in the festive season.

Even with those who wish to travel, uncertainty continues to loom over their bookings, with 68% of the respondents saying they will not book till closer to the travel date. Only 16% said they will book soon, while another 16% were unsure.

Cars and taxis emerged as the most preferred mode of travel for 38% of people, followed by flights (23%) and multiple modes of transport (18%).

The pandemic has seen millions of people either confined to their homes or working from home for the past six months. While many are desperate to get out and travel, the fear of infection is holding them back.

India resumed domestic air and train travel operations in June. However, the daily caseload has grown by 10 times since then. Unlock 4.0 came into effect on 1 September with curbs removed by most states, making people more cautious.

Based on the survey findings, service providers in road transportation may want to build capacity, said experts. Similarly, online travel portals may want to consider providers for outstation rental taxi services.

“Many people have returned back from home after a long break and going back again is not on their wishlist. Besides, people are focussing on their jobs and not looking at celebrating. Going home also involves additional expense," said Rajiv Mehra, director at Uday Tours and Travels.

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