Delhi people use extended January weekend for vacation

New Delhi, Jan 24 (IANS) Taking advantage of the three-day extended weekend beginning Friday, several Delhi residents would be out on vacation with family or friends with budget holidays to nearby destinations the hot favourites.

Friday (Jan 25) is the birth anniversary of Prophet Mohammed, celebrated across the world as Milad-un-Nabi, followed by Republic Day and a Sunday.

Hill stations in the states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand like Shimla, Mussoorie, Nainital, which can be reached within six to seven hours by car from Delhi are the most popular followed by trips to exotic Jaipur, Jodhpur or Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, Agra in Uttar Pradesh, and the Kashmir Valley.

"There has been a surge of around 20 percent in the number of people going on a holiday this weekend as compared to a normal weekend during this season," Manmeet Ahluwalia, marketing head of online travel portal Expedia.co.in, told IANS.

"A lot of people are headed to drivable hill stations near Delhi," he added.

Agreed Pratik Mazumder, head of marketing and strategic alliance of Yatra.com, that travelers from Delhi are headed to close by tourist spots like Agra, Mathura and Jaipur.

"Short, frequent breaks have started appealing to Indian travellers. These extended weekends always fuel the excitement amongst travelers who look for a quick escape from the bustle of the city," he said.

However, high price of air tickets has deterred many from opting for an international vacation.

"High price of air tickets has restricted the number of international travellers to just about 20 percent of the total... not many are opting to travel by air to far off destinations," said George Kutty, secretary, northern region of the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI).

The travellers are a mixed bag of families and groups of friends and newly-married couples on their honeymoon owing to ongoing wedding season.

"However, the trend is likely to be driven by families as mostly educational institutions are closed," said Mazumder.

Meanwhile, the average holiday budget begins at Rs.5,000-10,000 per person and goes up to Rs.40,000-Rs.60,000 - depending on the destination.

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