Delhiites look to escape CWG, South Asia preferred destination

According to tour operators, countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Mauritius are seeing an increased tourist inflow from Delhi for short-haul vacations to escape from the city during the Commonwealth Games.

"There has been a 40 to 50 per cent jump in the number of bookings for people going out of Delhi. Because of CWG, with all the educational institutes closed, people in Delhi are making plans to go out of the city," Yatra.com Co-founder and Executive Vice President Sabina Chopra said.

Factors such as economical travel packages and visa on arrival make the region a favoured destination.

"A lot of hotels such as Banyan Tree and Amari in the South East Asian countries are offering packages starting Rs 20,000 per person designed specially for people looking to travel during the games," TRAC Representations Associate Director (Operations) Rajeev Nangia said.

The company represents a host of international tourism boards and hospitality firms in India. He said countries such as Thailand and Mauritius also offer free Visa on arrival.

Expedia, a travel services provider that has designed special packages targeting such travelers, said it has witnessed increase in bookings for outbound travel from the Capital.

"There is an increase of around 30 per cent in the number of bookings for outbound travellers," Expedia India Marketing Head Manmeet Ahluwalia said, adding South Asian countries are the favourite among the travellers.

Families are also looking to travel during the games as many educational institutes and offices will remain closed.

Besides foreign destinations, Yatra.com is also offering packages to Andaman and Nicobar islands with special chartered plane.

"This is the first time we have taken such an initiative," Chopra said.

According to industry observers, usually in North India people do not travel out during this time of the year. But this year due to the CWG the trend seems to have changed.

"On an average, a family of four is spending between USD 5,000-7,000 for a holiday. We have received around 500 bookings from people opting for leisure travel outside India," Pearl International Tours and Travels Executive Director Arjun Seth said.

"Even corporates are organising dealership incentive programmes to places like Thailand and Malaysia," he added.

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