After few countries have opened their borders for Indians, enquiries for travel to international destinations have seen an average increase of 80-85% in July as compared to June. Maldives, Switzerland, Russia, Ukraine, Qatar, Turkey, Iceland, Costa Rica, Nepal, and France have opened travel for non-essential travel.
Scheduled international passenger flights have been suspended in India since March 23, 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, cargo and special flights have been operating under the Vande Bharat Mission and under bilateral air arrangements with selected countries since May last year.
MakeMyTrip said that international travel is picking up slowly as countries have eased travel restrictions and quarantine regulations for Indian outbound travellers.
According to the portal, Maldives and Russia currently rank high on the list of preferred leisure travel destinations. Switzerland and Qatar are the two countries that have made it mandatory for Indian travellers to be fully vaccinated.
According to Swiss rules, children have to be quarantined, which is why fewer tourists are opting to travel to Switzerland.
“We have seen a 35% jump in searches for international leisure packages for July as compared to the previous month. Overall, recovery within the international travel segment for essential as well as leisure travel is picking pace progressively. The scope and pace of recovery in international travel after the second wave is definitely higher as compared to the period post the first wave because of the global vaccination roll out,” said Vipul Prakash, chief operating officer, MakeMyTrip.
Ixigo said it expects more countries to gradually lift restrictions in the coming months.
“With India seeing an overall decline in the number of active Covid-19 cases, countries are evaluating and reconsidering their current travel restriction policies for Indian travellers. Recently the US state department has lowered its Covid-related travel advisory for India to ‘Level 3 – Reconsider Travel.’
Industry sources said currently there are no direct flights from Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore to Switzerland. “Though the country is allowing Indians to travel, Switzerland might not allow an Indian traveller to come via a transit country as it may have different rules for entry from those particular countries,” explained an industry expert, who did not wish to be named.
He added, “Moreover, not all tourists are aware of linking their passport to their vaccination certificates which is leading to case-specific issues.”
Jyoti Mayal, president of Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), said currently most international travel is being undertaken by students.
“After student travellers, business travellers are more seen travelling internationally. These are followed by visiting friends and relatives (VFR) and least air traffic is seen for leisure travel,” she said.
Courtesy – www.hindustantimes.com