With the scorching heat playing spoilsport in the state and the first direct flight to Kuala Lumpur also taking off from Bhubaneswar, this summer vacation could just be all about travelling to new destinations. MCL caught up with tour and travel operators across the city to find out what’s in store for passengers including the packages for the newly introduced Malaysian tour directly from the state capital.
Biplab Kumar Das, owner of Explore 2 Odisha, said, “Those who want to go abroad are basically interested for a vacation in Thailand and Malaysia. Tour packages are priced differently on the basis of the number of days of vacation and services required. The minimal charges per person for Thailand and Malaysia vary between Rs. 30,000 and Rs. 65,000 for a trip of five days and four nights. Thanks to the direct flight this time, more than 100 bookings have been already done to Kuala Lumpur through AirAsia. This direct flight initiative saves at least Rs. 15000 per head.”
“That apart, for within India, we are getting bookings for Shimla-Manali, Uttarakhand and Delhi. The Uttarakhand package includes Haridwar, Rishikesh, Dehradun and Mussorie, with a minimum charge of Rs. 25000 per head. The charges for our high-end customers are priced more, at least by an additional Rs. 10,000,” he added.
Owner of ‘Go Holidays’ Tour And Travels, Deba Brata Tripathy who is hopeful for a good business this season, told MCL, “As AirAsia has started its operations directly from Bhubaneswar, people here are automatically focusing on it. We have already registered 30 to 40 bookings for Malaysia and are getting demand for tour packages which includes Malaysia along with Singapore and Bali Island (Indonesia). Some customers are also opting for Sri Lanka, Thailand and Nepal. Newly married couples are booking business class packages for honeymoons mostly to Mauritius and Maldives that are mostly expensive.”
When asked about the cost of different tour packages, Tripathy said, “It is a minimum of Rs. 30,000 for a person to travel to Malaysia for five days and four nights. Mauritius is priced at Rs. 60,000 per head while for Maldives, it is a minimum of Rs. 85,000 per head. But travelling to Thailand is comparatively cheaper and costs around Rs. 25,000 per person.”
“When it comes to domestic travels within the country, our people prefer mostly hill stations in summer. The most frequented destinations are Kullu-Manali-Shimla, Darjeeling-Gangtok, Mysore-Ooty-Bengaluru and Munnar and Thekkady in Kerala. Most of our packages are customised. The enquiries and bookings this season are quite encouraging,” he further informed.
Stating that it would be beneficial for the state if there are more direct flights to tourist destinations like Bangkok, he said, “Tourism will also grow if a good number of tourists come from Malaysia to visit Odisha. The Buddhist monuments of our state including the Diamond Triangle will be a major attraction for them, I guess. We are planning to do some sort of marketing in Malaysia to attract tourists from there in the days to come.”
Talking further about the advantages of the AirAsia initiative, he said, “This new flight will definitely benefit the passengers since it is very much cost effective. Previously one had to go to Kolkata or Delhi to board a flight to Malaysia. But thanks to the direct flight, one would save both time and money now.”
On a similar note, Sand and Pebbles owner Alok Maharana informed, “The AirAsia initiative has made it easier, cheaper and convenient for passengers to travel to Malaysia. We already have more than 30 bookings for Malaysia.”
“Besides Malaysia, for abroad trips, entries are also coming for Europe tour package that includes Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands and France. For trips within India, people are mostly opting for Ooty, Kodaikanal, Manali, Shimla, Darjeeling, Gangtok and Jammu & Kashmir. Usually these are the destinations that tourists want to travel in the summer. Recently, Kashmir booking has come down drastically due to the unrest in the area. However, Kullu-Manali, Darjeeling-Gangtok and Ooty are the most favoured destinations for tourists as of now,” he informed.
Agreeing to this, Archexotic executive Bibhuti Bhusan Bahalia added, “Besides the hill stations, Kerala is one destination which is very much in demand. We have taken franchisee from Thomas Cook and provide tour packages as per customers’ requirements. Currently, most of our bookings are to Shimla-Manali and Kerala. For a trip of three days and two nights, the minimum fare for two persons travelling to Kerala is Rs. 30,000.”
There are also many tour operators who are focusing on destinations like Koraput within the state. Jugabdata Kar of Heritage Tours, Odisha, a travel agency at Puri, said, “We are basically focusing on Koraput for within-the-state summer trips as its temperature is comparatively cooler than the coastal areas of Odisha. We want the tourists to discover the greenery and natural scenic beauty of Koraput along with the local waterfalls and other tourist attractions. A four days and three nights’ trip to the place would cost about Rs. 19,000 per person. We also provide tour packages to hill stations like Shillong, Darjeeling and Gangtok, if we get demand from our customers.”