The Dubai and Mumbai-headquartered sees growing trends of customers preferring short trips or ‘staycations’ in the UAE
Both UAE and India have entered into air bubble arrangements between themselves, as also with several other countries in recent weeks, though most of these are currently agreed for limited periods.
Global online travel company Cleartrip said its website has seen much higher traffic volumes in July compared to the previous two months, fuelled by a pickup in domestic travel in Saudi Arabia and India, and a gradual revival in international flights from UAE.
The Dubai and Mumbai-headquartered firm, which operates an online travel aggregator website for flights and hotel reservations, is also expecting the upcoming IPL (Indian Premier League) to trigger travel plans from India and neighbouring regions to the UAE, provided authorities ease travel restrictions for popular cricket tournament.
“The IPL is a marquee sports event and typically generates very strong interest in travel plans from cricket fans in the subcontinent. Easing of travel restrictions will certainly help fructify this demand,” Amit Taneja, chief commercial officer of Cleartrip, told Arabian Business in an exclusive interview.
Taneja said though the pickup in traffic volumes last month indicated a strong pent-up demand, customers were still concerned about safety and flexibility.
“The pandemic has not eradicated customer needs for travel, it has only merely postponed travel plans. Once the situation eases, we expect the pent-up demand to come back strongly and see growth returning to the industry,” Taneja said.
He also revealed that initiatives to create ‘air bubbles’ between countries are helping the travel industry to generate more business, as they increase customer confidence and willingness to travel.
“Cleartrip has seen higher advance bookings on routes expected to be covered as a part of bubbles and expect these routes to drive strong volumes.”
Both UAE and India have entered into bilateral air bubble arrangements, as have several other countries in recent weeks, though most of these are currently agreed for limited periods.
Taneja said he expected customer travel plans to revive in four phases.
While the first phase was mostly emergency travel, primarily by personal vehicles and flights, the second phase is seeing customers preferring short trips or ‘staycations’ within the city or in nearby destinations.
“We have seen such trends in UAE as demonstrated by the success of our staycations product there and anticipate similar trends in the rest of GCC and India,” he said.
Taneja said customers will travel within “bubbles” in the third phase, and the last phase will be when customers start venturing into international destinations.
“Destinations perceived to be safe and easy to travel to and return from will be preferred more,” Taneja said, adding that “service providers who can guarantee a high degree of safety and flexibility in their offerings will see an increased preference from customers”.
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