Indian tourists shift focus to countries in the east amidst sky-high airfares & visa delays

For budget-conscious Indian tourists, the east has emerged as the most viable option due to sky-high airfares to the west and visa delays for the US, Canada, UK and Schengen nations of Europe.

Nations like UAE, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia and Maldives have become go-to destinations for budget travellers.

Value-for-money tourists have little option but to go east. Apart from prolonged visa delays, airfares to the west are at unheard-of levels. One-way economy fares on Delhi-Milan and Delhi-Vancouver routes on September 5 are Rs 1.1 lakh and Rs 2.2 lakh, respectively, due to the student rush. Average return fares from India to New York and London are starting at Rs 1.5 lakh.

Common return fares from India to New York and London are beginning at Rs 1.5 lakh. 

A Canadian visa is still taking almost six months to be processed, while the US is allowing travellers to only book visa appointment slots starting next year. UK visas are taking around six weeks, and people have the option of fast-tracking their applications by paying an additional fee.

”Average airfares to Canada, US and UK have increased by a minimum of 70% (August 2022 over January 2020) while short-haul destinations like UAE, Thailand, Singapore and Maldives have seen a much subdued increase, ranging from 16-40%, over the same time period. 

Airfare is one of the many factors that influences a traveller’s decision. Other factors include expenses at the destination and ease visa availability. We have observed that recovery for key short-haul destinations versus pre-Covid like UAE, Maldives and Saudi Arabia is 15% higher than the recovery of top long-haul destinations (US, UK and Canada). Within short-haul destinations, Maldives, UAE and Saudi Arabia are witnessing strong recovery in the range of 80%-110%.” 

Saujanya Shrivastava, MakeMyTrip COO 

While an all-inclusive 5-6 day trip to Thailand and Vietnam will cost less than Rs 1 lakh, Singapore and Malaysia will cost a little more, say, travel agents.

Visa delays and excessive fares push Indian vacationers to shift focus.

Indian tourists are being assiduously wooed by tourism boards of almost all countries as they look for a post-Covid recovery of fortunes. Now countries that offer easier access are seeing more footfalls from India. 

Airfare is one of the many factors that influence a traveller’s decision. Other factors include expenses at the destination and ease of visa availability.

(With Inputs from The Times of India)

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