Wet weather a downer for I-Day weekend trips

The persistent rainfall has played spoilsport and forced many people to cancel their plans for the Independence Day weekend from August 13 to August 15.

Though the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) maintains that people are steadily making bookings for the long weekend ahead, private travel agencies have a different tale to tell.

Satish Kulkarni, director at Varunraj Travels, says there has been a sudden increase in the number of cancellations. “Due to the rainfall, the Mahad bridge tragedy and increasing cases of landslides at various tourist spots, people want to remain safe,“ he says.

IT employee Amit Mishra had made bookings to Lonavla for a trip with his mother and wife, but cancelled them recently . “I had booked everything on my own using multi ple mobile applications, but given the heavy rainfall, I think it would be safer for us to stay in and possibly engage in a family get-together.“

As most parts of the count ry are flooded or are seeing landslides, the monsoon tourism industry , as a whole, is observing a lull.

There is a flood-like situation in Shimla and Manali, and most of Uttarakhand is also affected.

In Maharashtra, roads to Konkan, Goa and Mahabaleshwar are blocked. This is the reason for most cancella tions, says Kulkarni.

He adds, “Almost 90% of the bookings have been cancelled, and there is a substantial dip in new bookings too.“

Most of Kulkarni’s patrons, while cancelling, said that they don’t feel confident about travelling because of the rain and landslides.

Manoj Mhatre, an archi tect from the city, says, “I had planned and made bookings for Mumbai and Goa by road, but the weather doesn’t seem to be on our side. I’d rather stay home and organize a house-party instead.“

On the contrary , an official from MTDC said, “People are booking, there has not been any change whatsoever.“

International travel, though, has remained unchanged.

Sujit Katre, general manager at Guardian Holidays, says, “International destinations famous for such weekends are Thailand, Sri Lanka and Maldives. These bookings have been done well in advance in March and April, and are not affected easily.“

Most of these international destinations prove to be cheaper than travelling within India, if planned well. In fact, this year, according to Katre, monsoon off-season tourism has picked up.

“There is excitement among people this year. Even within the country , they are taking flights to Goa and are showing courage in travelling despite the rains,“ he said.

Katre added that most of his bookings have been done by either groups of families or ladies.

Source : TOI