The holiday season is here and people are taking off for foreign shores by the hordes. Last summer, the Icelandic volcano that cannot be pronounced (Eyjafjallajokull, if you must try) erupted with perfect timing and cast the heaviest shroud of smoke and ash on the plans of many holiday makers across the world, especially those heading for the sunny beaches of the Mediterranean.
This year, however, Europe is back on the itinerary and the number of passengers heading to the Swiss Alps or to France and Italy has gone up by 25 percent compared to last year. There has been a similar increase in the number of people heading to Canada, the US and the UK. And costs — up by about 20 percent — have not been able to deter any of these vacationers either. Travelling to any of these places can cost between Rs. 25,000 and Rs. 2.5 lakh a head.
Those who are less adventurous are heading to the more familiar places in Southeast Asia — Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong.
Passengers from India to this part of the world have shot up by about 50 to 60 percent this summer compared to last year. The fact that the total cost of travelling to these places has not risen much (between 5 and 10 percent) may be one of the reasons why more people are headed that way.
Package tours to South East Asian destinations can cost between Rs. 11,000 and Rs. 19,000 a head.
(Compiled by Jasodhara Banerjee)