Cooler destinations in hot demand This winter
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Winter is getting colder in most of the Indian cities. But travellers have not had it enough. For the year-end travel, the demand for cooler destinations has shot up this time.

Oyo has witnessed a surge in demand for colder destinations among different types of travellers, including solo travelers, couples and families. It has recorded a whopping 133 per cent increase in bookings by solo travellers to cold destinations as compared to same period last year. Further, there is a 99 per cent increase in bookings by couples and 106 per cent by family travellers to colder cities, whereas the increase is 71 per cent and 63 per cent for couple and family travellers to beach cities.

Shimla tops the list of cold destinations followed by Shillong, Gangtok, Mussoorie, Ooty, Dalhousie, among others, this winter having recorded a whopping 104 per cent higher bookings in total this season. The growth in bookings is much higher than 66 per cent increase in beach destinations. Yatra too has witnessed about 43 per cent increase in enquiries for colder regions.

“We have noticed a substantial percentage of travellers enquiring and booking for colder destinations for their winter vacations. People these days are increasingly looking out for experiences and with winter bringing in the snow and festivities, travel to colder places is becoming quite popular. Individuals prefer to go to places like Himachal Pradesh, North Eastern regions and even Rajasthan for these vacations. Internationally, there are also a segment of people who travel to the colder regions of Europe and America to enjoy the festivities cad in snow and chills,” said Sharat Dhall, COO (B2C), Yatra.com.

Cox and Kings too has seen a higher demand for colder destinations both in India and abroad. In India, the main destinations preferred by travellers are Shimla, Manali and Kashmir. While the trend of travelling to colder domestic destinations is a new, for the past two to three years people have been travelling to snow-clad destinations in search of White Christmas and White New Year.

“The trend of a White Christmas is catching up in India. People prefer travelling to Europe during this period. We have also observed that people visit the Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi in Lapland which is the official hometown of Santa Claus,” said Karan Anand—head, relationships, Cox & Kings.   

Indians also prefer to travel to the UK, France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Netherlands. These destinations wear a festive look during Christmas as shops and cafes offer last minute deals for customers.

There is another reason why people travel a couple of days before Christmas and that’s because of the Christmas markets in the region. Places like Paris, Glasgow, Copenhagen and Berlin are famous for its Christmas markets, where you can savour the best Christmas chocolates, cakes and wines, said Anand.

“On account of winter holidays, airlines too are offering a heavy discount to keep the spirit of travelling high. In last few years the industry has seen a steady growth,” said Kapil Goswami, CMD, BigBreaks.com.

Dhall finds that this fairly recent trend has started with millennials wanting to have a real time experience especially around winter. “Be it the harsh cold or the snowfall, their spirit to enjoy authenticity remains unhindered. Therefore, bookings to such destinations have seen a sharp hike over the last couple of years,” he said.

Columnist: 
Sangeetha G.