Hotel Tariffs Soar As Pandemic-Weary Indians Rush To Hills Of Manali To Mount Abu

A view of Oberoi Hotels & Resorts Co.'s Wildflower Hall in Shimla, India. (Photographer: Adam Majendie/Bloomberg News.)

Hotel Tariffs Soar As Pandemic-Weary Indians Rush To Hills Of Manali To Mount Abu

For months, Indians were confined within their homes as both waves of the Covid-19 pandemic ravaged the country. As the second wave becomes less severe amid a pick-up in vaccination across the country, they’re heading out—to the Himalayan foothills.

That has pushed up hotel tariffs in the region. The top four getaways for travel-hungry Indians, according to the travel portal Ease My Trip, are Mussoorie, Manali and Shimla in Himachal Pradesh, and Mount Abu in Rajasthan. Hotel stay rates have jumped 9% and 32% across luxury and non-luxury segments in these cities.

Google's trends show mobility rose nearly 53% at national parks and public gardens in Himachal Pradesh between May 30 and July 11 over the baseline period of Jan. 3-Feb. 6, 2020. Mobility trends at transport hubs like bus stands and railway stations, too, rose 24% in the same period. Mobility at parks in its capital, Shimla, was up 26%.

The state—famous for its Himalayan landscapes, apple orchards, and activities like trekking and rock-climbing—eased the requirement for negative RT-PCR test for entry, aiding mobility.

“Despite being crippled by the uncertainties of the pandemic, the travel and hospitality sectors have hinted at a massive recovery since dip in cases after the second wave,” Nishant Pitti co-founder and chief executive officer of Ease My Trip, told BloombergQuint. “We have witnessed a surge in last-minute bookings and an increase in average ticket size for popular destinations such as Mussourie, Mount Abu, Shimla and the likes.”

He said average ticket price on hotel bookings in June spiked by nearly a third compared with January. “We anticipate an ever further rise in occupancy rates in the travel and hospitality sector in the coming months with vaccinations being rolled out and the subsequent pent-up demand.”

Average flight ticket prices from major cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru, the portal said, have risen up to 5% in the last six months.

Motorable getaways, or destinations where people can drive down to, remain a big draw, Anil Chadha, chief operating officer at ITC Hotels, told BloombergQuint.

“While we have traditionally seen the beaches do very well in this season, the hills are doing incredibly well,” Chadha said, with their Welcomhotel Shimla and Welcomhotel Tavleen in Chail clocking high occupancies and often being sold out.

The hotel chain said its other properties in the region—Welcomhotel Savoy in Mussoorie and Welcomhotel Pine 'n Peak in Pahalgam—are also witnessing a similar surge in bookings and help engage tourists in local and hyper-local activities.

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