It’s destination Far East for Calcuttans this Puja, with Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Philippines high on the itinerary.
Most passengers are taking a flight to Singapore and Bangkok, and from there to Hong Kong, Tokyo and Philippines, say travel agency sources. Quite a few are targeting the UK, too, like in the past years, but the volume of tourists has considerably thinned this season.
The demand for the Far East is being reflected in the ticket bookings. According to officials, tickets for neither Singapore nor Bangkok are available till October 10. All Bangkok and Singapore-bound flights of Indian Airlines, Thai International Airways, Singapore Airlines and Royal Brunei Airlines have been booked to capacity, they add. “The rush started in August this year, after the SARS alert was lifted, and is still on,” says an official of Thai International Airways.
According to airlines sources, quite a large number of people have targeted the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to spend the Puja holidays. Tickets for flights to the islands have been booked till December. Bhutan, too, features as a favourite haunt, said an airline spokesperson.
According to sources in Indian Airlines, Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai remain favourites as before. Closer home, the demand for Bagdogra-bound flights is soaring, with many settling for Darjeeling and Sikkim. Down south, Bangalore and Hyderabad top the list of hot spots, while Jaipur has caught the fancy up north.