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© Anjali Thakur | India.com Lifestyle Staff

Over the years, the long weekend has turned out to become one of the hottest trends in the travel industry witnessing a growth in demand every year. While 2020, had a greater number of long weekends as compared to last year, but with COVID-19, travel came to a standstill under the lockdown. With the unlock phase and government initiatives, there has been a gradual growth in the travel sector where booking inquiries are increasing. Consumers are now slowly moving from essential to leisure travel as their confidence to travel builds further. With the long weekend, there has been a pick-up in demand for the below-mentioned trends: Homestays or cottages: Accommodation which is secluded and less commercial is also gaining traction among consumers who are looking at destinations that provide quiet and calm, are at a driveable distance, and are away from the hustle of city life 4 stars & 5-star Hotels: Consumer preference for hotels with stringent safety and sanitization processes has increased. Hence, there has been a rise in bookings for 4- & 5-star hotel properties. Road trips: To avoid the risk of infection, more people are opting for short getaways with road trips and visiting destinations that are at a driveable distance. These destinations are gaining popularity as they provide perfect respite during long weekends Safety & Hygiene priority: Travelers are looking at the assurance that all necessary measures are being taken at each touchpoint of travel while booking at the destination. They are more cautious than ever before regarding sanitization and safety measures adopted and are enquiring about it while booking. Yatra has also launched Clean Pass which ensures all safety measures are in places across its partner hotels, cabs, and bus service providers in India. Travel service provider Yatra.com has witnessed a spike in terms of bookings and accommodations. They have witnessed a 32 percent hike in booking inquiries for the weekend trips. While choosing accommodation, 74 percent have preferred 4- and 5-star hotels and about 67 percent of individuals are booking hotels within two days of traveling. Some of the short-haul destinations from metro cities which witnessed a surge in queries are- From New Delhi: Jaipur, Nainital, Rishikesh, Manesar, Mussorie, Lansdowne From Mumbai: Panchgani, Lonavala, Alibaug, Lavasa, Mahabaleshwar From Chennai: Vellore, Mahabalipuram, Sadras Town, Pondicherry From Bangalore: Savandurga, Ramanagram, Nandi Hills, Bheemeshwari From Kolkata: Roopark Village, Junput, Bishnupur, Shantiniketan From Goa: Nersa, Dandeli, Dudhsagar Falls, Amboli

“Long weekend trend has been growing over the past few years with people looking for a quick and short respite from their monotonous life. In the unlock phase, more travelers are looking for short-haul destinations having proper safety and sanitization measures in place. The upcoming long weekend has witnessed a spike of 32% in booking inquiries and growth in demand for accommodation such as homestays, 4 stars and 5-star hotels, cottages, among others. With customer confidence building up, we can expect destinations to witness traction,” said Sabina Chopra, Co-Founder and COO, Corporate Travel & Head Industry Relations, Yatra.com.