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Rediff.com  » Business » Planning a holiday? You have to pay more

Planning a holiday? You have to pay more

November 04, 2006 17:14 IST
Tour packages this season are set to shoot up by 10 to 15 per cent, owing to an unprecedented increase in demand for hotels and travel bookings.

Despite the tourism season still a month away, the cash registers of tour operators and hotels are already ringing.

On the domestic front, like the last year, Goa leads as the travel destination for Christmas and new year, followed by Kerala, Rajasthan and hill stations in the North and South.

Bookings for Goa have gone up drastically. India's leading travel portal Travelguru said it is handling as many as 30 bookings a day as compared with 5 to 10 bookings it handles in the lean season.

On the international front, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand and Egypt score as the most sought-after travel destinations. Cox & Kings, however, is expecting more tourists to visit Dubai, as the Dubai Shopping Festival kicks off in December.

In Goa, the hotel occupancy is close to 80 per cent with a few hotels even levying a surcharge.

"The five-star hotels in Goa have jacked the rates up by 25 per cent, whereas four- and three-star hotels have increased them by 15 per cent. Though the occupancy is not 100 per cent yet, it is likely to go up with the New Year approaching," said Travelguru CEO Ashwin Damera.

However, besides these traditional family destinations, there are other destinations too that people are willing to explore.

"We have come out with exciting packages to Mauritius and Maldives, which are picking up. Indian Airlines has announced that it would start direct Bangalore-Male flights from November with an introductory offer of Rs 10,000. This would make Maldives very attractive. It has a lot of potential as a honeymoon market," said Karan Anand, director, Cox & Kings.

Thomas Cook too is offering new package tours to Turkey, Fiji, Bora Bora and Korea, recording most of the bookings for Turkey.

Star Cruises, on the other hand, is also seeing an upward trend in bookings this season.  In terms of itinerary, its three-night cruise to Kadmat in Lakshadweep has received tremendous response from passengers for this New Year.

"We are expecting more bookings with the numbers picking up as the New Year draws closer. So far, our cruises are doing well and we are positive that it will be better than last year," said Naresh Rawal, senior manager, marketing, Star Cruises.

Star Cruises has revised its itineraries from four nights, two nights and one night last year to three nights, two nights and one night this year and the rates are also lower.

Kalpana Pathak in Mumbai