Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh)
Soaring air fares to various prime tourist destinations are now making people cancel holiday plans this summer.
Air fares to Srinagar, Goa, Mumbai, Coimbatore, Kolkata, Dehradun and Kathmandu have soared beyond the reach of middle-class families and record cancellations have taken place in the past one week.
"We had planned to visit Srinagar in mid-June but the air fares are now beyond our reach. The one-way air fares are between Rs 11,000 and Rs 18,000 and I cannot afford it for my family of five. I am told that taxis in Srinagar have also increased their rates," said Rajeshwar Singh, an executive in a telecom company.
With one-way Lucknow-Dehradun fares ranging between Rs 8,000 to 11,000, several people have opted for road travel to Uttarakhand.
"We went to Mukteshwar in Uttarakhand but could not get any hotel. For the first time, people are seeing traffic jams in this small town. We could stay for just two days in a homestay and then came back," said Sumit Agarwal, a software techie.
"The rising air fares have been a major spoiler this season. A one-way ticket to Kathmandu costs between Rs 15,000 to Rs 18,000. How can any middle-class family be expected to bear the cost of this holiday? We searched for other options, including Goa but could not afford a family trip," said Prem Swarup, a retired government employee.
Travel and tour operators also admit that there have been a record number of cancellations due to soaring prices in the industry.
Even hotel tariffs have soared beyond the reach of the common man.
Vivek Kumar, who works in a travel agency, said, "The air tariffs are coming down in July but by then schools will reopen and family holidays cannot be planned."