The first hurdle while making travel plans is leave issues. We all have been there. But why ask for leaves when 2020 is giving you the opportunity of going on mini-vacations.
There are as many as 21 extended weekends this year compared to 11 long weekends in 2019.
The upcoming long weekend starts with the holiday on February 21 (Friday) for Mahashivratri and travel agencies are offering both international and domestic short holiday plans.
According to Thomas Cook, over 35 percent surge in demand has been witnessed during weekend breaks.
For the long weekend in March during the holiday for Holi, Yatra, an online travel agency is seeing a 17 percent spike in overall booking inquiries for long and short haul destinations compared to last year.
Short-haul vacations have seen a significant uptick in recent times. As per the SOTC Travel India Holiday Report; 53 percent of Gen Z, 59 percent of millennials and 50 percent of Gen X travellers chose short breaks as the top reason to take a holiday.
"Travelers are looking at budget trip to domestic destinations around the city, and are also exploring international options. Preferred international destinations include Thailand, Dubai, or middles eastern countries. In terms of accommodations, travelers have shown interest homestays, budget hotels, house boats, camping, hostels among others," said Sabina Chopra, co-founder and COO, Corporate Travel & Head Industry Relations, Yatra.com.
The weekend travelers have increased in the last two to three years, said Daniel D'souza, President and Country head, Leisure, SOTC Travel.
"We are seeing increased demand in short weekend trips. In 2019, the segment would have grown close to about 19-20 percent. And we'll continue to see this growth this year," he added.
For Sterling Holiday Resorts as well long weekends mean good business. Peshwa Acharya, Chief Marketing Officer at Sterling Holidays, said that they have high occupancy for long weekends.
And it is not India's working millennial population alone that is driving the demand in the travel space during long weekends, families too are showing keen interest with a clear shift from one long annual vacation to multiple, short holidays.
Also, the demand is not from metros alone. Nishant Pitti, co-founder & CEO, EaseMyTrip said that there's a lot more uptick in demand coming from smaller cities for long weekends.
"These people are catching up and spending money on travel," he said.
During Pongal (January 15-18) this year, many travellers from Chennai planned a long weekend and Thomas Cook India observed a surge in demand of over 18 percent during this time from Chennai along with other regional markets like Madurai, Erode and Trichy.
The company also saw over 30 percent growth in demand with an increasing number of travelers from Chennai seeking to explore the Dubai Shopping Festival which started on December 26 and went on for over a month till February 1, 2020.
For Lohri (January 13, Monday), travellers from Punjab made the best of the first long weekend holiday of 2020. Regional surrounding markets like Chandigarh, Amritsar and Jalandhar saw a rise in demand of around 25 percent for the long weekend.
Long weekends are driving demand and this is keeping India’s travel and tourism industry upbeat despite the many challenges from economic slowdown to Coronavirus outbreak the sector is facing.
"There is slowness in demand but it will pick up. Our forward bookings are stable. We are confident that demand will pick up," said D’souza.