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BW Businessworld

The Holiday Business

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Employees across India are upbeat about the first long weekend of 2011 starting this Friday, 12 August as 55 per cent of the employees in the national capital have applied for four to five casual leaves to extend their holiday up to next week -planning an 8 to 10 day long itinerary- a recently concluded survey by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) reports. Corporate offices in Delhi-NCR have received the maximum number of casual leave applications
ASSOCHAM interacted with human resources and administration departments in 400 corporate offices in Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai and Pune to gauge the mood of the corporate workforce towards the first long weekend this monsoon. Their survey also features representatives of leading travel portals, travel agencies, and hoteliers. As per their records, the maximum number of bookings have been made for trips to traditional picturesque destinations such as Jaipur, Mount Abu (Rajasthan), Landsdowne, Mussoorie, Nainital (Uttarakhand) and Goa.

Tour operators are offering exciting new packages for couples and corporate houses to cash in on the newly developed concept of monsoon tourism. About 15 lakh travellers are likely to make a voyage to these renowned destinations, ASSOCHAM's analysis reveals, based on the feedback received from tour operators and hoteliers these traditional tourist hot spots around these cities. "Long weekends are very rare these days and corporate employees see this is as a perfect getaway opportunity as there are several public holidays this month," says D.S. Rawat, Secretary General of ASSOCHAM.
Around 40 per cent of corporate employees in Mumbai have applied for a minimum of four days leave. Mahabaleshwar, Khandala, Lonavala and Matheran are some of the leading tourist hot spots for Mumbaikars as tour operators have received the maximum bookings in these areas.
The corporate workforce in Ahmedabad closely followed their counterparts in Mumbai as 35 per cent of offices have received casual leave applications from their employees. The majority of travel agents in the city have received bookings for Mount Abu.
Offices in Bengaluru have received casual leave applications from 25 per cent of their employees and majority of tour operators in the city have sold monsoon tour packages for Coorg, the survey highlights.
Religious tourism is also on a high among travellers this season and the footfall at destinations such as Vaishno Devi (Jammu &Kashmir), Khatu Shayam, Udaipur (Rajasthan), Ashtvinayak (Maharashtra) and Char Dham (Uttarakhand) is most likely to quadruple this weekend since15 to 20 per cent of the overall bookings account for spiritual tourism destinations, the responses from tour operators indicate.
Hoteliers in these locations have increased the room rates by around 150 to 200 per cent and are reporting a healthy occupancy, even though traditionally it is a lean season. In addition, food and beverage costs are also running upwards by 35 to 40 per cent.

Those with hefty pockets are off to international holiday destinations which include Thailand, Mauritius, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai. According to tour operators almost 25 per cent of the overall bookings for trips to these places account for leisure holidays.
The ASSOCHAM survey also finds that various companies have enabled work from home facilities for their employees so that they can celebrate their festivals and complete their tasks as per their convenience, without worrying much about the deadlines.