Passengers at Mumbai airport queue to board a plane on May 25, 2020, on the first day of service after India’s Covid-19 lockdown. Photo: AFP / Indranil Mukherjee

India’s travel and hospitality sectors, which were badly hit during the Covid-19 pandemic, are showing signs of recovery after the lifting of restrictions following a drop in coronavirus cases.

The two industries suffered crippling blows due to travel restriction and their high-contact nature.

Online travel services provider EaseMyTrip said it had seen up to a 50% increase in advance air ticket bookings for the coming summer period and the long weekend starting on Good Friday, the Press Trust of India reported.

Citing its own data, EaseMyTrip also said it had seen “a 20-30% rise in bookings for international travel for the months of May and June, with a significant rise in the number of people who are traveling for longer vacations.”

Online travel booking platform Cleartrip said the United Arab Emirates, Maldives and Thailand were popular destinations for the upcoming summer travel season.

India resumed scheduled international flights on March 27 after a gap of nearly two years. India banned all passenger flights in March 2020 to curb the spread of coronavirus. Though it resumed domestic fights two months later, international flights remained suspended due to heavy caseloads in various countries.

Hotel bookings

EaseMyTrip also claimed there was a 60% jump in hotel bookings for the long weekend from April 15-17, compared with the corresponding period last year. “The average duration of a hotel stay for the long weekend has increased from three days to five days,” it added.

The company claimed that revenge travel – after relaxations in pandemic-related curbs – had been one of the biggest factors driving the increase in bookings. It also said that long weekend travel was now emerging as the new trend and many travelers were opting for group and family trips over solo vacations.

There has been strong growth in international leisure travel with destinations such as Dubai, Maldives, Thailand and the US in heavy demand.

Online hotel booking platform Oyo said it received the highest number of bookings so far in 2022 during the festive weekend from April 8-10. The SoftBank promoted firm said it received more than 310,000 bookings during the period.

Oyo officials claim they are expecting an even better turnout during the current weekend. Oyo Senior Vice-President Shreerang Godbole told the Press Trust of India: “Travel optimism is at an all-time high across the country.

“As restrictions are eased and air travel bans lifted, travelers are looking forward to celebrating festivals with their loved ones, heading out on summer vacations and making the most of their long weekends.”