Hotel bookings during Covid-19 in India

Even as several parts of India still have travel restrictions due to Covid-19, the Himalayan states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh along with other popular tourist destinations such as Udaipur, Goa, and Ladakh, have opened up their borders for tourists. Encouraged by this, Indians from across the country have started arriving at these places, boosting local businesses.

“Hotel bookings on our platform have increased by threefold in comparison to the time between May’s last week until June’s first week. This has coincided with the easing of restrictions and reduced caseloads of Covid-19,” Rajiv Subramanian, vice president of travel portal Cleartrip, told Quartz.

However, this sudden influx of tourists is causing other problems for locals in the areas. For instance, earlier this month Himachal Pradesh’s capital Shimla, which is a popular travel destination, witnessed an acute shortage of water due to high demand. Besides, local residents at these destinations are worried about travellers not adhering to the Covid-19 norms.

But unfazed by the problems, hotels—both luxury and affordable ones—are looking to make the most of the opportunity, especially as it may be a limited one given the looming third-wave of Covid-19.

In May this year, weekly hotel bookings witness a 95% increase largely driven by growth in key cities, according to Rategain. “Almost all tier-1 cities and state capitals are seeing a surge in bookings with a 100% increase on weekly basis,” it said.

Hotel industry players believe that the main reason behind the boost isn’t just long-distance travel but also the fact that people are preferring destinations within drivable distance for weekend getaways and staycations. “Upended travel plans are translating into a surge in occupancy in leisure destinations like Shimla, Srinagar, Karjat, and Alibaug,” stated Saxena of Radisson Hotel Group.

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