A quiet hill town, a bustling beach, or an international city: Indians are taking their pick to greet the New Year
A quiet, quaint town in the hills; a colourful and bustling beach, or a luxury Swiss ski resort: Indians are travelling for their New Year vacation, picking places that match their tastes and pocket.
One in every two travellers is buying flight tickets to head out immediately or in the next two weeks, according to data from MakeMyTrip, the online booking firm. “We are also seeing an upside in flight and hotel bookings for December and expect this trend to hold. Goa, Jaipur, Udaipur, Varanasi, Mysore, Pondicherry, and Amritsar are some of the most sought-after spots for the winter holiday season. The international flight segment has recovered by 75% and is expected to move towards full recovery from here on,” said a spokesperson for MakeMyTrip.
If you want to spend the year in a quiet place, there are several options. “Some undiscovered destinations in India include the Gurez Valley, Kashmir; Chopta and Kanatal in Uttarakhand; .Damro, Arunachal Pradesh; Mawlynnong, Meghalaya; Sandakphu, Darjeeling; Kila Raipur, Punjab; Jawai, Rajasthan,” said Nishant Pitti, chief executive officer and co-founder of EaseMyTrip.
Travel companies have a range of offers for Christmas and New Year vacations, so research your destination. “While travellers are planning to spend big on their year-end vacations, they can also save big just by following a couple of ways that cut down the travel expenses. Advanced planning or booking is one of the smartest ways in which people can save money and get the best deals,” said Bharatt Malik, senior vice president, flights, at Yatra.com, the ticketing website.
“We, at Yatra.com, have observed greater interest in domestic destinations such as Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, and South India- Kerala and Pondicherry. Visa-free short-haul international destinations such as UAE, Maldives, Mauritius, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Cambodia, and Turkey are being preferred by people for year-end travel,” said Malik.
According to data from Thomas Cook, travel packages for Europe, Turkey, Egypt, South Africa or Sydney cost between Rs 1,00,000 and Rs 2,50,000 per person on a twin-share basis for six days. A holiday in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia or Dubai-Abu Dhabi will cost approximately Rs 80,000-150,000 per person on twin-share basis for five days.
For popular domestic destinations such as Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Goa, Andaman or the Northeast, you will have to spend anything between Rs. 40,000 and Rs 80,000 per person on a twin-share basis for 5 days.
For the top travel destinations in India, EaseMyTrip’s data shows an average airfare increase of 20-25 per cent in recent weeks. The Mumbai-Delhi rate has increased by 20 per cent; Delhi-Hyderabad by over 20 per cent; Bengaluru-Kolkata by 44 per cent; Delhi-Goa by 40 per cent and Bangalore-Delhi by almost 30 per cent.
Pricey flight tickets have not discouraged Indians determined for vacations. Consumer research conducted by KAYAK.co.in, which provides travel and hotel recommendations, found that two-thirds of Indian travellers said they will trim their daily expenses and save money to see the world in 2023.
“30th and 29th of December are some of the most affordable dates for domestic and international travel. For Indian travellers looking to secure the best possible fare price, we recommend setting up price alerts for your chosen destination to help secure a great price for your flights,” said Tarun Tahiliani, India country manager at KAYAK.
“KAYAK’s data shows significant growth in flight searches for this Christmas and New Year season, as Indians look set to take advantage of restriction-free travel to reunite with family and friends. Dubai, Bangkok and Bali remain the perennial favourites offering comparatively short and quicker flights with all the excitement of overseas travel. Goa and Andaman & Nicobar Islands are the local choices—which also points to a preference towards beach destinations,” said Tahiliani.
The most-searched international destinations for return economy flights are Dubai, Bangkok, Bali and Maldives. Domestically, Goa comes first as the most-searched destination for return economy flights. It is followed by New Delhi and then the Andamans & Nicobar Islands, he said.
Home and abroad
India’s hill towns, prettier in the winter, are drawing tourists too. “Demand covers resort stays amidst snow-laden landscapes of Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Auli, Mussoorie, Shimla, Dalhousie and Dharamshala; the Northeast’s Gangtok; Sikkim emerging strongly on the radar; also plantation villa stays set against verdant tea coffee estates of Coorg, Coonoor and Munnar,” said Rajeev Kale, president & country head, holidays, mice, Visa–Thomas Cook (India) Limited,
The adrenalin rush of winter sports like skiing, snowboarding, hiking/trekking is a top draw in winter vistas attracting honeymooners and multi-generational families alike. Biking trips in mountain/hill terrains appeal to fitness enthusiasts of all ages.
If you want snow and luxury in your winter vacation, go for Finland’s husky safaris or stay in an ice hotel or glass igloos in Norway or premium ski resort stays in the Swiss-French alpines regions.
Europe’s winter markets and festive displays feature as favourites for the Christmas/New Year festive season, followed by South East Asia’s Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia; with Vietnam and Cambodia witnessing brisk business along with Dubai-Abu Dhabi in West Asia. Additionally mid-long hauls like Australia, Turkey and South Africa are also seeing strong re-emergence. Baku and Almaty with convenient access and easy visas are popular new emerging destinations.
“Millennials and young professionals are keen to explore offbeat experiences, hence we see them book itineraries that involve a host of outdoor and adventure activities right from trekking paragliding, hiking, white river rafting, kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving, sea karting and biking trips, to winter sports like skiing, ice skating, tobogganing, and more,” said Daniel D’Souza, president & country head, holidays, SOTC Travel.
For wealthy Indians, travel companies are offering luxury and adventure deals like a cruise in the Antarctica, seeking glaciers in Greenland, exclusive private island resorts, white water rafting in Arunachal Pradesh’s Subansiri, rock climbing in the Satpura mountain range, or a rejuvenation break at a resort high in the Himalayas.
Average prices for return economy flight over X-mas
|Destination||New Year period|
|Dubai, United Arab Emirates||34,781|
|Andaman and Nicobar Islands||32,338|
|New Delhi, India||12,746|
|Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam||32,768|