New Delhi: Mountain biking in the hills of Uttarakhand, para-sailing in Goa, a therapeutic spa in a Mughal-era palace in Rajasthan and even a kite flying competition to soak in the Independence Day festivities – the tourism sector is going all out by offering attractive packages and discounts to lure maximum travellers for the four-day extended Aug 15 weekend.
Thursday (Aug 15) is Independence Day followed by a Friday and then Saturday and Sunday.
The hot favourite destinations for Delhiites continue to be Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Agra, Goa and Rajasthan as they offer a great mix of adventure and laid back holiday options without raiding the bank.
The majority of travellers are opting for a domestic holiday.
Pushkar Resorts in Rajasthan is offering a two night- three day package for Rs. 8,999 per person.
The evening starts with a camel ride to the ancient city to explore the age-old temples, lakes and the bustling market followed by a relaxing therapeutic massage, lounge by the pool and a live barbeque.
“Luxury holidays are emerging as a strong trend this year and these destinations offer some great deals in luxury and five-star properties along with scenic locales and a relaxing holiday,” said Rajesh Magow, chief executive officer of MakeMyTrip, adding that the bookings had increased by “over 100 percent.”
“Not only do five-star properties offer great deals during the lean monsoon season, but other value-adds such as discounted spa therapy, complimentary transfers and the like make for a really top-notch holiday experience,” he explained.
TripAdvisor, a travel site that offers holiday advice from travellers from around the world, has shortlisted some boutique properties recommended by its community members. The destinations are within 300kms of Delhi.
If you are into nature walks, safaris, cycling and spa, the Tree of Life resort or Samode Palace in Jaipur would be apt but if you want to get an adrenaline rush, head to Amber-Vermont estate in Mussorie for rafting in the Yamuna or mountain biking, hiking and treks in Atali, Rishikesh or solitude in the Himalayas in Ramgarh, Uttarakhand.
Interestingly, travellers are choosing to holiday in Uttarakhand, which was ravaged by torrential rains and flash floods in June that claimed hundreds of lives.
“The Uttrakhand floods had a ripple effect on the summer business of many destinations there but the extended weekend is somewhat making up for the loss,” Richa Goyal Sikri, Group Business Development Director, STIC Travel Group said.
Leading travel portal Yatra.com is offering discounts ranging from Rs. 600 up to Rs. 10,000 on air tickets, hotel bookings and packages, both domestic and international.
“We have a separate section for the Independence Day bookings on our website and unique offerings like a lucrative discount of Rs.5,000 on your companion's travel to Andaman or up to 50 percent off on domestic hotel booking or savings of up to Rs. 10,000 on international holidays,” explained Yatra.com president Sharat Dhall.
Another travel portal, Expedia, is offering 50 percent discounts on hotels in Goa, Jaipur and Udaipur as well as foreign destinations in Southeast Asia and the Gulf as well.
Expedia also has a separate section on weekend getaways which offer value-for-money holidays to destinations near the capital like Shimla, Agra, Mussoorie, Corbett National Park and Jaipur, among others.
As for the travellers, they are a mixed bag of families and groups of friends and newly-married couples on their honeymoon. The average holiday budget begins at Rs.5,000-10,000 per person and goes up to Rs.40,000-Rs.60,000 depending on the destination.