Is Valentine's Day aiding tourism recovery?

Owing to travel restrictions and the fear of contracting Covid-19, the global travel and tourism industry is yet to recover from the pandemic's setback. Data from leading travel booking platforms, however, shows that Valentine's Day has proven to be a major stir for the industry with travel bookings rapidly picking up around the day of love.

Owing to travel restrictions and the fear of contracting Covid-19, the global travel and tourism industry is yet to recover from the pandemic's setback. Data from leading travel booking platforms, however, shows that Valentine's Day has proven to be a major stir for the industry with travel bookings rapidly picking up around the day of love.

According to the Goibibo platform, more than 70 per cent of the bookings for the weekend starting February 13 have been made for couple-friendly hotels. A study of hotel booking behaviours and preferences on Goibibo indicates that close to 70 per cent of the bookings for couple-friendly hotels are finalized a day before the date of travel or on the day of check-in -- a trend that continues to dominate other booking patterns amongst couples. In terms of the duration, more than 78 per cent of the properties are booked for a day -- with many opting for three star or budget category hotels.

"Bookings on the platform indicate a steady month-on-month increase of ~40 per cent since the Unlock phase in June 2020 - with the majority of bookings being made by couples hailing from Tier I and Tier II cities," said Goibibo.

According to Airbnb data accessed by IANS, the top searched destinations for travel in India over the last month include Goa, Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Lonavala, Alibaug, Pondicherry, Pune, Chennai, and Manali.

Simran Kodesia, Communications Lead, India and Southeast Asia, Airbnb said "Go Near is another trend we have been witnessing. Travellers are looking for locations that are easily accessible by road and are exploring staycations in destinations like Lonavala, Alibaug, Pondicherry and Manali. We have also witnessed a surge in demand for getaways that are off the beaten track and offer unique experiences -- properties that are closer to nature, ones that have an assortment of outdoor amenities, or a unique accommodation like a treehouse, a private island or a houseboat."

As per Rajiv Subramanian, Vice President, Cleartrip, Goa emerges again as the preferred leisure destination in the post-lockdown period, a trend which has continued for the Valentine's Day weekend. "We have seen the share of 5-star and 4-star hotels increasing to account for more than 70 per cent of our bookings."

According to data from Booking.com, New Delhi, Goa and Mumbai are the top booked domestic destinations by Indians travelling during Valentine's week of February 8-15, followed by Jaipur and Bengaluru.

"Planning a trip (on Valentine's Day) becomes considerably special for them as it serves as a quick getaway from the humdrum of regular life. Over the years, we have seen travellers move away from traditional travel options and choose adventure tourism, eco-tourism, and staycations among others for an enriching experience.

"In 2021, for accommodation, we have seen a surge in enquiries for options such as homestays, cottages, and premium and luxury hotel properties. This year, we have witnessed around 20 per cent hike in demand for staycation options and driveway destinations as customer confidence is building up. The significant metro cities which have witnessed a rise in enquiries/bookings for staycations are Bangalore followed Delhi NCR, Mumbai and Kolkata. Additionally, destinations like Goa, Jaipur, Darjeeling and Coorg have seen adequate occupancy rise as well," concludes Sabina Chopra, Co-Founder and COO, Corporate Travel and Head Industry Relations, Yatra.com.