Airfares soar as Indians pack bags for foreign holidays

DELHI: Making last-minute plans for an international holiday this summer will leave you sweating.

Spot ticket prices to popular destinations have gone up by as much as 30% from last summer with London witnessing the fastest jump in airfares, reports The Times of India.

But even these high spot fares are not deterring last-minute holidayers.

Indiver Rastogi, president of corporate travel at Thomas Cook (India) Limited, says airline bookings are witnessing a “surge of over 40%” as compared with that in last year.
However, leaving on a jet plane this summer break is proving tough as visa processing at the consulates of the most popular destinations is taking a lot of time due to the rush.
Sample this: Tourism Australia recently sent a mail to travel agents about increased waiting periods to get visas due to increase in applications.

Advising them to file applications at the Australian High Commission in Delhi four to six weeks before departure dates, its mail said: “Visitor visa applications received in New Delhi during the first quarter of 2017 have increased by 32%, when compared with last year, and the trend appears to be continuing….” VFS, which handles visa processing for most countries, says its application centres are seeing huge rush this summer due to increase in outbound travel from India.

“Overall, a steady increase in the number of visa applications has been observed, year-on-year, particularly to destinations in Europe, UK, as well as the Far East,” said Vinay Malhotra, VFS Global’s COO (Middle East and South Asia). VFS, however, did not give any numbers, saying that can be done only by individual consulates.

Given the sharp increase in outbound travel, airlines are not able to increase supply accordingly. John Nair, head of business travel at Cox & Kings, said: “Spot fares to long haul destinations in June have gone up as the Indian leisure traffic to these destinations have shot up and there is no commensurate increase in capacity from India to the UK,Europe and USA.”

Thomas Cook’s Rastogi said: “Spot fares were deployed by carriers last year in a focused initiative to catalyse/boost uptake in a sluggish market environment, but given the significant demand this year, airlines have chosen to stay away and strategically leverage this growth opportunity.”


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