The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, which is scheduled to be played from October 5 to November 19 across 10 cities in India, is still three months away, but excitement among fans is already high, driving people to travel across the country. India is participating in the World Cup after 12 years.
Bookings are already full in cities where important matches are to be played, as the clash between India and Pakistan in Ahmedabad has led to “a 46% increase in travel and ticket bookings for the World Cup”, said Nishant Pitti, CEO and co-founder, EaseMyTrip. Thomas Cook (India) has seen an 80-100% increase in demand during October-November compared to last year, Rajeev Kale, president & country head, holidays, MICE, Visa, Thomas Cook (India), told FE.
As a result, flights have increased by up to 50%, especially in high-end destinations, with Ahmedabad seeing significant increases of 50-60%, Mumbai 40-50%, and Kolkata 30-40%. “Other hubs like Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Dharamsala, Hyderabad, Lucknow and Pune are also seeing a 20-40% increase in prices,” said Indiver Rastogi, president & group head, global travel, Thomas Cook.
While flights have increased significantly on comparable dates, “the prices of 4/5-star hotels have increased by a staggering 10-15 times,” said Bharatt Malik, senior VP, airline and hotel business, Yatra Online.
Take the case of Mumbai’s The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. The average rate for November 2, when the qualifying matches will be played in the city, has increased to Rs 55,000.
This would have taken about half of that, a Google search reveals. Similarly, a room at the Hyatt Regency Kolkata, which would have cost around Rs 7,000 otherwise, is being sold at Rs 40,000 around November 5, when the India-South Africa match is scheduled to be played.
The main focus here is Ahmedabad, which will host three important matches: the opener, the final, and the India vs Pakistan central clash. The city “sees great demand, almost all the rooms are sold worldwide for the World Cup 2023. Hotel prices have increased dramatically, and prices are rising up to 10x their usual prices for one night’s stay,” Pitti said. Rooms are already unavailable in other luxury hotels in the city, such as Courtyard by Marriott, ITC
The same applies to airline tickets. “The price of an economy ticket from Delhi to Ahmedabad is usually around Rs 2,800 in the months of August and September. However, the day after the match (October 14), the price of the same ticket will go up,” said Pitti. A Google search has revealed that Delhi-Ahmedabad flight tickets for October 14 are currently over Rs 11,000.
The World Cup competition is so high that “despite the flight and hotel prices, we are seeing a 100% increase in cricket fans traveling in different regions in October-November. What is interesting is that this demand is not only from metros and minis
Interestingly, in addition to hotels, customers are also looking for other accommodation options such as rooms and apartments close to the match venue, adding to their journey to explore the destination in depth,” added D’Souza.
Obviously, this cricket tourism is good for the industry. “We are confident that cricket-led tourism will grow exponentially by the end of the year,” said Rajesh Magow, co-founder & CEO of the MakeMyTrip group.