Resorts, homestays in Karnataka see business pick up as 2020 draws to a close
The State government may have banned parties and revelry in public spaces for the New Year in the light of the pandemic, but that does not seem to have dampened the spirits. For the first time since the pandemic forced us into a lockdown in March earlier this year, many have booked a holiday for the Christmas–New Year season.
Sanjar Imam, president of the Karnataka Tourism Forum, said though the business was still nearly 80% lower when compared with the same time last year, the industry started seeing the first signs of “green shoots” this year since October and the upcoming holiday season looked “promising”.
“Most of the resorts and homestays within a radius of 300-350 km from the city, are booked to full capacity from December 25 to January 10. However, people are making shorter trips by road, in their own cars or hiring taxis, as they are still wary of taking any public transport, including air travel,” said M. Ravi, joint secretary , Karnataka Tourism Society.
Darshan K., a software engineer has planned a family holiday in Puducherry for the last week of the year. “We wanted to end the year on a positive note and hope 2021 is nothing like the current year. We have booked a room in a large resort and plan to drive down,” he said.
Shobha T., who is hoping to make a trip home to Mumbai for Christmas, was surprised to find that all pet care facilities are already filled up. “I need to board my cat at a facility, and I called the few I knew and trusted in the second week of December. All of them were fully booked and many said it came as a pleasant surprise as they were expecting people to remain at home,” she said.
Kumar Pushkar, managing director, Jungle Lodges and Resorts Ltd., said they were seeing a 99% occupancy rate during December 21-31. In fact, we are doing better business when compared with last year, he said. “People seem to prefer going to locations that are not crowded where they can maintain social distancing,” he explained.
The most popular destinations seem to be Kannur, Wayanad, Puducherry, Goa, Kabini, and Kodagu. A few, who have ventured to take up air travel, are travelling to the Maldives and Dubai. “In Maldives, each resort is almost like a different destination and offers seclusion and is safe, and hence has now become popular,” Mr. Imam said.