As international travel opens up, Indians spend lavishly | Business and Economy News

India expects local traffic to exceed pre-pandemic levels of 415,000 daily fliers within a year.

By Bloomberg

Indians are holidaying lavishly now, spending more on five-star hotels and booking business-class seats as the country emerges from the coronavirus pandemic that restricted travel for two years, according to the South Asian nation’s second-largest online travel agency.

“People are living their lives and splurging on travel,” Prashant Pitti, co-founder of EaseMyTrip, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television on Monday. “It’s a shift which is happening for good, for long-term.”

More and more Indians are taking to the skies as travel curbs ease and the country opens up international travel, with pent-demand driving travel needs for millions of stuck at home. India, the world’s fastest-growing major aviation market before the pandemic, expects local traffic to exceed pre-pandemic levels of 415,000 daily fliers within a year. Indian airlines are also adding capacity to capture the revival in demand as international flights resumed from Sunday.

Bookings for business class seats on flights and five-star hotels have already doubled compared to pre-pandemic numbers as a percentage of total reservations, Pitti said. Indians are now planning holidays of 4.7 days on average, compared to 3.2 days before Covid, he said. Operated by Easy Trip Planners Ltd., EaseMyTrip offers online bookings for flights, trains, hotels, buses and cabs.

EaseMyTrip, which sold shares to the public last year, will continue to grow profitably, Pitti said. The company’s net income probably surpassed 9 billion rupees ($ 118 million) for the year ending March 31, jumping from 6.1 billion rupees ($ 80 million) previous year, he said.

While airfares have jumped “quite dramatically” in the last few weeks as carriers tried to offset a rise in oil prices, the increase will be short-lived, Pitti said.

“India is looking great, in lines to recover very rapidly from the onslaught which we have all been through in the last two years,” he said. “The pent-up demand won’t shorten for the next couple of years.”

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