Srinagar, Nov 5: Domestic locales like Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal, North-East are the most preferred destinations for winter experiences among holidaymakers across the country. This was stated by Thomas Cook India & SOTC's survey that covered metros, mini-metros, Tier 2 - 3 cities, 77 per cent of respondents are keen to travel in 2021 itself.
“The growing interest in Expo 2020 Dubai is giving rise to significant interest for Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Domestic locales like Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal, North-East for winter experiences; Rajasthan, Goa, Gujarat, Andamans and Kerala are also high on the Indian travellers wish list for November - December 2021” the survey said.
The survey said “with a growing vaccinated population and easing of restrictions, customer confidence in travel is witnessing a strong rebound”.
Commenting on expectations from the forthcoming winter tourism season, Secretary Tourism, Sarmad Hafeez told Greater Kashmir that enquiries for the winter season have been coming in large numbers. Hafeez said the Tourism Department was expecting a good rush this month and during December.
“We have a series of festivals and events lined up and are hoping for a healthy winter season. Apart from catering to the rush at Gulmarg, we have already decided to keep Sonamarg open for tourists this winter” said Hafeez.
Hafeez said bookings for winter season have surged given the massive blitzkrieg planned by the Tourism department to attract tourists.
“The department has held road shows in different metropolitan and other cities and expect these activities to benefit the forthcoming winter tourism season. Snowfall in December during Christmas and New Year’s holidays is one occasion when we expect the maximum number of holidaymakers” said Hafeez.
With an impetus expected from tourism influx this winter, the air traffic to Srinagar International Airport is also expected to be one of the highest witnessed in the last several years.
As per the winter schedule issued by the Director General of Civil Aviation, as many as 43 to 55 flight slots have been offered to the airline companies operating to this region.
Speaking with Greater Kashmir, an Airports Authority of India (AAI) official said the winter schedule will come into effect from December 1, 2021 till March 26, 2022.
Officials say 43 to 55 scheduled flight slots are highest in the last few years, it now depends on the airlines on how many slots these airliners use.
“The actual number of flight operations daily depends on the demand. We are hopeful for a good winter tourism season and also an increase in air traffic this season” said the AAI official.
With almost 12000 daily passenger footfalls being witnessed at the Srinagar International Airport, the aerodrome has of late seen an increase of 170 per cent air traffic compared to last year, officials said.
As per AAI data, from witnessing only 2500 passenger footfalls last year and even during April and May this year owing to Covid-19, the airport has recently seen a sharp increase in passenger influx.
On October 28, the Srinagar Airport saw a total number of 11,242 passengers travel on 88 flights.