The decrease in Covid-19 cases and the easing of restrictions imposed to stem its spread, along with the relatively cool weather have encouraged travel and tourism. The pandemic had hit this sector hard. Tourist destinations such as Diu, Saputara, Daman, Udaipur, Mount Abu, Statue of Unity, Sasan Gir, Somnath and Dwarka, among others, are currently teeming with people, who may have been waiting to go out.
Industry estimates indicate the business has gained traction and bookings every weekend through the end of August are full at all nearby tourist destinations in and around the state.
With the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, thousands of tourists from southern Gujarat are flocking to closer destinations, Saputara and Daman. On weekends, Saputara is chaotic with nasty traffic jams while most of the hotels in Daman are full even though the beaches are not yet open.
“Restaurants and hotels have good bookings on weekends. The tourist flow will gradually increase as the government announces more relaxations,” said Harish Tangal, vice president of the Daman Hotel Association.
This is also the case with Saputara. âPeople from nearby destinations go to Saputara for the weekend. But those from more distant destinations, including neighboring states, avoid traveling,â said Shamitabh Jena, associate vice president, Lords Group of Hotels.
Tour operators say shorter getaways are preferred over long-haul trips, and people are opting for personally-driven destinations to avoid public transport and the risk of being close to strangers.
The slow pace of movement worries tour operators
Despite the surge in tourism movements over the past three weeks, the recovery is far from pre-Covid levels, industry players say. Manish Sharma, President of the Federation of Travel Agents of India (TAFI) – Gujarat Chapter, said: âGujarat’s domestic tourism was valued at Rs 800 crore per year during the pre-pandemic period, even from far close to a recovery in domestic tourism.In 2021-2022, the summer vacation season, which accounts for at least 60% of our income, was wiped out due to the sinister second wave of Covid-19 infections . Diwali holidays are another great season for traveling. However, tour operators say people have stopped planning their vacations in advance and as a result there is hardly any booking request for the Diwali holiday. Diwali. We are also focusing on the long weekends in August that tour operators have launched packages for. We have realized that people are not making long term plans by being wary of Covid. If the situation remains good, we might see some movement for the re servation of Diwali a month or two later, âsaid Anuj Pathak, president of the Association of Tour Operators and Travel Agents of Gujarat (TAG).
(With contributions from Nimesh Khakhariya in Rajkot and Yagnesh Mehta in Surat)
Hotel activity rings out of season
Greater travel traction also increases hotel occupancy rates in tourist destinations across the state and even in neighboring states. Estimates from the Hotels and Restaurants Association (HRA) – Gujarat suggest that average occupancy levels in tourist destinations have increased by more than 50%, which is a good sign of recovery for the tourism and tourism sector. the hotel industry. The Statue of Unity witnessed huge visits throughout the week and was almost sold out on the weekends. Nikhil Aggarwal, partner of Lallooji and Sons who runs the SoU tent city, said: âThe turnout is correct; people who were locked in houses during the second wave are now starting to come out. Some 61 rooms in the tent city are 100% sold out on weekends. “Occupancy is 100% on weekends at hotels in Diu, Junagadh, Sasan, Dwarka and Mandvi of Kutch, according to agents. Industry players have said that such a rush is usually seen during the holiday season and on long weekends. “With the onset of the monsoon, July is generally a low season for tourism. However, this time, after the second wave, tourism activity picked up dramatically with hotels in Diu remaining full, “said a Diu-based hotelier. Gir National Park is closed due to the mating season. lions, but the area attracts tourists who go there for short jaunts. The Devaliya Safari Park is always open, as is the Girnar Cable Car, which is increasingly drawing crowds. A number of resorts are located nearby destinations are also full on weekends. âWe took a break with the family after a long time,â said Vishvesh Majumdar, a businessman.