Aviation Business Tourism

Direct flights make Phuket and Maldives favoured spots

PUNE: Travel companies have seen between 50% and 100% increase in travel to Maldives, Phuket and Singapore over the past three to four months for direct flight connectivity from India to these destinations.
Airfares too have dropped by as much as 30% as compared with what travellers paid in the past. Tourists are also opting for these destinations for their summer vacations with travel agents reporting between 70% to 100% growth in forward bookings.

After the launch of the direct Mumbai-Phuket and Mumbai-Maldives flights, tour companies are witnessing a huge demand for these destinations due to attractive airfares and shorter flying time.

Travel companies said that a leading low-cost carrier has launched direct flights from Delhi to Istanbul in Turkey, which is likely to increase travel bookings this summer.

Nikhil Thakurdas, owner of Odyssey Tours and Travels, said two low-cost carriers are flying directly from Mumbai to Maldives daily at attractive airfares. “For instance, Mumbai-Male return fares are now approximately Rs20,000, per person, as against earlier fares between Rs27,000 to 35,000. Even though hotels in the Maldives are expensive, travellers are opting to travel to the destination because of cheaper airfares and direct connectivity,” he said.

Thakurdas said two low-cost carriers also started flying directly from Mumbai to Phuket a few months ago. “Return airfares to Phuket can now be as cheap as Rs20,000, per person, while earlier it was around Rs30,000 to Rs35,000. It is also the convenience of flying direct that has made the destination popular,” he said.

Rishikesh Pujari, director of Vihar Travels, said the number of travellers to Phuket this summer is up to 50% higher as compared with the same period last year. “Another 400-odd bookings are for Singapore. The travel time from Mumbai to Phuket in a direct flight is down to around four hours, as against the eight-odd hour journey earlier. We have also seen a 15% growth for bookings for Maldives this summer,” said Pujari. He added Phuket is offering visa on arrival free of cost till April 30, which is another reason for the surge in travel to the destination.

Aloke Bajpai, chief executive officer and co-founder of ixigo, said, “We have seen an average increase of 55% in bookings for Phuket and Maldives. Routes like Mumbai-Phuket are showing a 28% decrease in airfare as compared to the same time last year. We are also seeing more queries from budget travellers for destinations like Turkey and Singapore.”

Sharat Dhall, chief operating officer (B2C) at Yatra.com, said that short-haul destinations such as Thailand, Dubai, Malaysia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka are piquing travellers’ interest. “There has been an increase in passenger load factor to these destinations due to capacity expansion and economical airfare. For Pune alone, we have witnessed booking enquires rise by 82%,” he said.

Daniel D’Souza, president and country head, Leisure, SOTC Travel, added, “As a few air carriers have made direct flights available to these destinations, it has led to a surge in demand for Phuket and Maldives. Short haul destinations are preferred because of easy availability and frequency of flights, low airfare, affordable accommodation and value-driven packages.”

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Source URL: Google News

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