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Covid curbs off, air fares soar as mid-April holiday window beckons

‘It is like revenge tourism now,’ said the chairman, east, Travel Agents Federation of India

Sanjay Mandal | Published 05.04.22, 06:11 AM
A group of visitors to the Victoria Memorial pose for a picture without masks on Monday. Though all Covid-19 related restrictions were revoked from April 1, advisory in respect of health and hygiene protocol, including wearing of masks at all times, hand hygiene and sanitisation of public places is still in force.

A group of visitors to the Victoria Memorial pose for a picture without masks on Monday. Though all Covid-19 related restrictions were revoked from April 1, advisory in respect of health and hygiene protocol, including wearing of masks at all times, hand hygiene and sanitisation of public places is still in force.

Picture by Pradip Sanyal

The first spell of holidays after India’s Covid restrictions have largely been lifted is ahead and air fares have gone through the roof. 

Fares to Dehradun, Srinagar, Bhubaneswar, Pakyong (Sikkim), Goa and some other destinations from Kolkata have sharply increased for April 13 and 14, which mark the start of a long weekend. 

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While April 14 is Ambedkar Jayanti, April 15 is Good Friday.

Airline officials and tour operators said the demand was yet not so high for some of the popular international destinations like Thailand because many people are still not sure about restrictions in those countries.

According to travel agents, fares for some of the domestic destinations were showing higher on April 13 and 14 on Monday evening than compared to some dates this week.

Kolkata resident and retired government official Tanima Dutta was planning to travel to Dehradun on April 14 to meet her son, who is undergoing training at a government institute. 

“The return fare was around Rs 30,000 on a direct flight with a stopover in Delhi. So I am going this week when the fare is much less,” she said. 

When her husband had gone to Dehradun in February, the return air fare was around Rs 14,000. And he booked the ticket two days in advance, said Dutta.

On Monday evening, the one-way fare to Dehradun was around Rs 19,000 for April 13, while that for April 17 was around Rs 15,000.

 Tour operators said usually the round fare was around Rs 15,000.

The return fare for Srinagar on Monday was around Rs 24,000 for April 14. 

The return fare for April 7 was Rs 21,000, said a travel agent. 

The average return fare for Srinagar varies between Rs 14,000 and Rs 15,000 

Nearer home, the fares for destinations like Pakyong in Sikkim and Bhubaneswar were going through the roof, too. 

“The return fare to Pakyong for April 13 and 14 was around Rs 16,000. The average fare is not more than Rs 6,000,” said a tour operator. 

“Apart from high demand, what is pushing the fares on the Kolkata-Pakyong route is the fact that the Bagdogra airport would remain closed during the period,” the tour operator said.

The return fare to Bhubaneswar was around Rs 13,000 for the holiday weekend. It usually varies between Rs 5,500 and Rs 6,000. 

Many Puri-bound tourists from Kolkata fly to Bhubaneswar.

A tour operator said the one-way fare to Goa for April 13 on a flight that leaves at 11.50am was Rs 17,000 on Monday. The average return fare on the route varies between Rs 15,000 and Rs 17,000.  

“The demand for Goa is high throughout the month,” said the operator.

Most Covid restrictions across India were lifted on April 1. 

“It is like revenge tourism now,” said Anil Punjabi, chairman, east, Travel Agents Federation of India.

 

Last updated on 05.04.22, 06:11 AM
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