As rains pummel tourist spots, itineraries change

Many are cancelling travel plans to coastal regions and opting for dry cities such as Udaipur. The more adventurous are not deterred

Two-wheeler riders are at increased risk while traversing hilly terrains during the monsoons.

Monsoon tourism is one of the biggest buzzwords in the Indian travel sector but recent incidents have necessitated the need to tamper your wanderlust with caution. Many parts of the country, from tourist-havens like Kodagu and Goa, to business centres like Mumbai and Delhi, have been inundated by heavy rains and flash floods, making travel to these places almost impossible.

Never seen such rains, not scheduling rides now

Laxmi Narayan Agrawal, founder of motorcycling club ‘5th Gear Riders’, says that both the Pune and Bengaluru chapters of the riding club are not scheduling rides for the time being, due to the worrisome situation in different parts of the country. 

“We are not scheduling even one-day rides since many roads leading out of the cities are flooded. Most of these are not in good condition; when covered by water, it becomes impossible to spot potholes and that makes it dangerous,” he says.

“Some of our riders in Bengaluru are okay with going to places with heavy rainfall but as organisers, we didn’t want to risk it; flooded roads and landslides are grave safety concerns for riders. And the destination matters; many join us just for the ride but there are people who want to explore the place once they reach. So we need to have a good place to ride to,” he adds.

Agrawal points out that this is the first time he is seeing so many different parts of the country ravaged by rains at the same time. “Last year, around the same time in August, we did a Bengaluru-Pune-Mumbai-Bengaluru ride. That is unthinkable this time.”

People moving away from coastal regions to north-western parts of India

Traditionally there is an increased demand for rental cars among travellers during monsoons, says Avis India, a global car service provider. 

“However, we are seeing cancellations, particularly of self-drive bookings, owing to heavy monsoon rains in certain regions. We have seen a significant drop in the number of bookings in the same period, as compared to last year, due to heavier rains in certain regions. Customers are moving away from trips to coastal regions to trips to cities in the north-western parts of India like Udaipur and Jodhpur,” says Sunil Gupta, MD and CEO, Avis India.

Adventurous travellers are not hindered by the rains...

Experiential travellers are undeterred by the rains and are opting for short holidays within Maharashtra, as well as to Goa and North Karnataka. “The interest to unwind in these regions, particularly with the Independence Day long weekend coming up, is high amongst such travellers this monsoon. We are observing a rise in bookings for homestay experiences that we have introduced,” says Daniel D’souza, President and Country Head, Leisure, SOTC Travel.

He adds that Jaipur and Udaipur in Rajasthan and Chandigarh and Amritsar in Punjab are great alternative holiday retreats this season.

Guwahati is preferred destination among last-minute travellers

There is a growing appetite for last-minute travel, says online travel company Cleartrip. It points out that over 52 per cent of the domestic monsoon bookings made so far were made within a week of the travel date.

“Guwahati has climbed four spots and Goa and Nagpur have climbed two spots each in the list of top twenty domestic destinations that travellers are heading to this monsoon season. Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Manila and Singapore are the leading international destinations for the season,” says Balu Ramachandran, senior vice president, Cleartrip.

He adds that Pondicherry, Lonavala, Munnar and Ooty are the other leading domestic destinations.

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