Kochi: The travel and tourism sector in Kerala is slated to be at its peak till January 5, thanks to the influx of visitors into the state for Christmas vacation. Bookings in the hotels and resorts here have reached full capacity. For the first time in history, the overall passenger movement through the Kochi airport in this calendar year is slated to touch the one crore mark either on Wednesday or Thursday. The airline fares, meanwhile, have reported a sharp spike.
Hotel, and taxi numbers go up, and fares too
There is no letup in the rush even as the state witnessed a 30 percent growth in the number of hotels and resorts, including five-star units, over the last few years. The room rental charges have witnessed an over cent percent jump during the season as everyone is eyeing to make the most of the peak season. The number of tourist taxi cabs and vehicles like travellers, too, grew during the period. This, however, has not helped ease the rush, though the hiring charges witnessed a hike of up to 30 percent.
Airfares from North Indian cities keep galloping
The ticket fares from the North Indian cities like Mumbai, Delhi, and Ahmedabad, which contribute the most domestic visitors to Kerala, to the airports at Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram have touched Rs 35000. The flying expense of a four-member family alone has now reached Rs 1.5 lakh and when the hotel expenses and other costs are taken into account, the overall money spent by a family for a visit to Kerala will be around Rs 2 to Rs 3 lakh.
Airfares in the Gulf sector soar
The one-way ticket fare charged by all airlines from the Gulf destinations currently stands at least three times the normal rate. For instance, Emirates Airlines has fixed the ticket fare in the Dubai-Thiruvananthapuram sector for tomorrow at Rs 47,300! The cost of flying has gone up in budget airlines as well. Air Arabia is charging Rs 24500 for a flight on the same route on December 23. The cost of flying from Bengaluru to Thiruvananthapuram on Christmas Eve will be over Rs 15,000, while that to Kochi has gone past Rs 10,000.
Keralites keep flying high
Meanwhile, an increasing number of Malayalis are also flying out to faraway destinations during the vacation season. Although the ticket fares remain high, planes are packed to capacity due to group booking. Earlier, the cost of flight tickets was only 33 percent of the total package charges and the rest pertained to the expenditures incurred after reaching a destination. Now, the ticket charges comprise about 50 percent.