Bollywood and major sporting events have for long influenced Kolkata’s travel choices. So, it comes as no surprise that in 2018, many a traveller looking to dodge the Puja hustle and bustle, is flying to Russia for a peaceful sojourn. Other international destinations that are popular this festive season include Bhutan, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Closer home, Darjeeling, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Rajasthan remain top choices.
With Durga Puja just two months away, travel agencies in the city are struggling to accommodate last-minute bookings. Said Usha Agarwal from On The Move, “We’re flooded with enquiries for Russia after the World Cup. It is the hot favourite destination this Puja. In fact, many are still calling up to make lastminute bookings. More and more people are opting for it now as getting a visa for Russia has become much easier.”
FROM BHUTAN TO LONDON
London, too, remains evergreen as a tourist destination like every year. After the launch of direct flights from Kolkata to Andamans and Goa, the popularity of these two places has also gone up by leaps and bounds. Bhutan is another country that is in high demand this Puja.
Anil Punjabi, chairman, Travel Agents Federation of India, said, “People are highly influenced by Bollywood and sports when it comes to deciding where to travel. So, this year, Russia has caught everyone’s fancy. After having seen it on TV, people now want to explore the world’s largest nation in the flesh.”
BOLLYWOOD AND SPORTS CONTINUE TO INFLUENCE CITY’S TRAVEL CHOICES THIS PUJA
Besides, for people with a big budget, France, Switzerland and Venice are also very popular, said Anil.
THE QUEEN OF HILLS IS BACK!
Darjeeling, which has been the most favourite spot for city travellers for ages, is back in travel itineraries after being hit by political unrest for months. “We’re getting a number of group bookings for Darjeeling this Puja. It is the best place for those who prefer budget holidays. But it is Bhutan that is topping the list this year,” added Anil.
A diverse and multi-cultural country, the picturesque Sri Lanka is another go-to place this Puja. Priya Chakraborty from Altair Services Pvt Ltd said, “Sri Lanka is both beautiful and easy on the pockets, making it very popular. Besides that, Mediterranean cruises are also extremely sought after this year and so are combo packages of Greece-Turkey and Vietnam-Cambodia. But enquiries for Russia are the highest. For those who want to stay in and around India, Rajasthan and Bhutan are on top of the list.”
While combo package tours of Singapore-Malaysia, Sri Lanka-Maldives, Australia-New Zealand are always in demand during Puja holidays, vacationers are now more interested in visiting unexplored places. “Vietnam-Cambodia and Laos still remain largely unexplored, making it to the list of the more adventurous travellers. However, for those with a low budget, Thailand tops the chart. Europe remains the favourite among high-budget travellers,” said
Santanu Ghosh from Bon Voyage Travel Club, adding, “In India, Andamans and Darjeeling are favourites because of the weather and scenic beauty, besides neighbouring Bhutan.”
Bilolaksha Das from Citi Travels echoed similar sentiments. He said this Puja it’s all about Russia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Andamans.
So, if you haven’t still zeroed in on where to travel this Puja, you have options galore to choose from!