About a fortnight since scheduled international flights resumed after nearly two years, Indians have flocked to the UAE, Maldives and Thailand in Asia; Switzerland, France, Italy, Austria in Europe; and other destinations such as Turkey, Australia, the UK and US, travel industry executives said.

“We have been witnessing a significant increase in inquiries for international destinations such as Maldives, Thailand, UAE, UK, Australia and the US. Dubai continues to lead the list with a significant increase in demand, especially for those who want to partake in short-haul vacations,” said Nishant Pitti, co-founder of online travel company EaseMyTrip.

“We have also been witnessing a 30% increase in last-minute flight and travel bookings, and we expect this trend to grow further in the summer months, leading to a bigger surge in international bookings,” Pitti added.

India has allowed about 60 airlines from 40 countries to operate 1,783 weekly international flights from India during the summer schedule of 2022. Indian airlines have been allowed to operate up to 1,466 weekly international departures during the summer schedule between 27 March and 29 October.

“Destinations in Western Europe like Switzerland, France, Italy and Austria have reported over 4X growth in queries over the last year, while Dubai and Abu Dhabi are seeing a 40-50% growth in demand compared to the same period last year, said Indiver Rastogi, president and group head of global business travel at Thomas Cook (India) & SOTC, adding that demand for travel to Turkey and Egypt are up by 40% and the US by 100%.

“Short-haul destinations, in particular, are currently seeing the maximum uplift with Thailand up by 3X week on week, followed by Singapore and Indonesia; also, island destinations like the Maldives (30%) and Mauritius (35%) and closer home, Nepal,” Rastogi said.

While the resumption of scheduled international flights is a relief and will boost international travel, airline executives expect passenger demand from India to Europe and North America to remain impacted during the short term due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

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