Everyone wants to go to Ahmedabad, and the prices of flight tickets and hotel rooms are shooting up.
A Kolkata-Ahmedabad return ticket — going on November 18 and returning on November 20 — cost more than Rs 80,000 on Thursday afternoon.
Usually, it does not cross Rs 15,000, even for last-minute bookings, said tour operators.
To put things in perspective, the Kolkata-London return ticket via Dubai on the same days — November 18 and 20 — was worth around Rs 92,000 on Thursday.
A business hotel in Ahmedabad was charging Rs 1.25 lakh for one room on Thursday evening for November 18 and 19. The tariff for the same category room on November 22 is Rs 8,100.
“There are three to four rooms left in our hotel. I have booked 20 rooms for Rs 85,000 on Thursday,” the manger told The Telegraph on Thursday evening.
Sunday’s World Cup final at Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium is drawing fans from Kolkata and beyond, pushing air fares from the city to unprecedented levels.
Kolkata has four direct daily flights to Ahmedabad, said airport officials. In contrast, there are 25 and 15 daily flights from the city to Delhi and Bangalore, respectively.
Tour operators said the demand for tickets to Ahmedabad is much less compared with Delhi and Bangalore, explaining the reason for far fewer flights to the Gujarat city.
However, after two record-breaking performances — Virat Kohli’s 50th ODI ton and Mohammed Shami’s seven-wicket haul — helped India demolish New Zealand in Mumbai on Wednesday and win a berth in the final, the demand for tickets and
hotel rooms has gone up manifold, said travel agents and airlines.
On Thursday afternoon, a ticket on an afternoon flight from Kolkata to Ahmedabad on November 18, a day before the final, was costing more than Rs 40,000. It would go up further closer to the final, said airline officials.
Camac Street residents Anusuiya Varma and her brother Aniket are flying to Ahmedabad on the morning of the final match. The tickets were a birthday gift to Aniket from their father.
Aniket’s birthday was on Wednesday.
“As India was winning, we decided to watch final up close. Our father gave us the tickets as birthday gift for my brother,” said Anusuiya. The brother and sister both are entrepreneurs.
“We are very excited to be at the stadium. This will be our first World Cup cricket final at a stadium,” said Anusuiya.
Her father Sunil Varma, a businessman, said he bought the tickets for the match through a friend. He also bought two return tickets for Rs 60,000 each. “I was happy to pay such a high fare because it is a lifetime opportunity,” said Sunil.
Another Kolkatan had purchased the ticket for the final match and booked flights tickets months before. “I would have cancelled the flight tickets and taken refund and given the match ticket to a friend had India not made it to the final,” the man said.
An official of an airline that operates direct flights between Kolkata and Ahmedabad said the tickets are getting sold fast since Wednesday night.
“The flights to Ahmedabad till Sunday are almost full. Barely a few seats are available and prices for those are soaring,” said the official.
Even a return ticket on a hopping flight from Kolkata to Ahmedabad (November 18 to Ahmedabad and November 21 to Kolkata) was costing Rs 1.15 lakh on Thursday, despite the fact that the one-way journey time stretches seven hours.
“We were flooded with calls throughout Thursday from cricket fans for flight and hotel bookings. A two-night package to Ahmedabad this weekend is almost on a par with a short holiday in Europe,” said Anil Punjabi, national committee member of the Travel Agents Federation of India, representing eastern region.