A week after the resumption of scheduled overseas commercial air operations from India, demand for international travel has shown a “clear acceleration”, encouraging travel service providers. People are desperate to travel after a two-year lull and demand and inquiries are skyrocketing despite rising airfares, some industry players have said. Indiver Rastogi, president and group head for global business travel at Thomas Cook (India) and SOTC, said short-haul destinations such as Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia are currently seeing the maximum upside.

He also said that inquiries about Western Europe (Switzerland, France, Italy and Austria) had quadrupled compared to last year. “Dubai and Abu Dhabi are also seeing 40-50% growth in interest compared to the same period last year; Turkey and Egypt are up 40% and the United States 100% ( for customers with valid visas).”

A spokesperson for Cleartrip said international bookings, since the Indian government announced the resumption of scheduled international flight operations from March 27, had increased by 80% compared to January this year.

“The United Arab Emirates, the Maldives and Thailand are popular destinations for the upcoming summer season,” the spokesperson added.

Benzy Nazar, CEO of Akbar Holidays, said revenge travel was back and people were booking despite high airfares. “People don’t seem to be afraid of Covid anymore. With the start of summer school holidays, those with school children are looking to European destinations,” she said. “Those who haven’t booked in advance are looking to the Far East. With the opening of Thailand, four-night, five-day packages are doing well. Singapore is doing very well and Dubai is doing very well. well in spite of Ramzan.”

According to RateGain, the United Arab Emirates, Thailand and Nepal seem to be the most popular destinations for bookings on Indian online travel platforms. Booking.com said that with the resumption of scheduled international flights to India, London, Paris, Dubai, Toronto and Amsterdam are among the most popular international destinations for Indian travelers from April 1 to June 30.

Vipul Prakash, chief operating officer at MakeMyTrip, said the UAE and the Maldives have already seen nearly 80% recovery this month compared to pre-Covid days. “Along similar routes, flight bookings to the US, UK, Canada and Australia have already reached a 60% recovery from January 2020. Flight bookings to short- couriers, including Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia, are seeing weekly growth,” he added.