Tourists wander around the ridge area of Shimla in Himachal Pradesh state on July 6, 2021, as Indian government warned citizens against complacency as it showed images of people crowding at malls, markets and holidaying in hill stations in northern India.
Tourists wander around the ridge area of Shimla in Himachal Pradesh state on July 6, 2021, as Indian government warned citizens against complacency as it showed images of people crowding at malls, markets and holidaying in hill stations in northern India.
AFP

After months of being cooped up inside as Covid-19 raged outside, well-heeled Indians have decided that home is not where the heart is and are hitting the road - and the skies - to break the monotony of their indoor existence.

There is even a term for it - 'revenge travel'. So, when states started opening up after a ferocious second Covid-19 wave, people headed out in droves to beachside hotels, hill homestays or even just a resort close by. Anywhere but home and maybe not quite what the doctor ordered.

Taking revenge as it were for the months of anxiety, of working from home, doing or conducting classes online and unable to meet even close relatives, they masked up, got their jabs and wasted no time in heading outdoors.

"Advance bookings as measured by the share of bookings with travel dates more than four weeks away are over 10 per cent this year compared to around 5 per cent last year," Rajiv Subramanian, vice president at global online travel company Cleartrip, told PTI.

"We expect the increased momentum of the vaccination drive and reduced caseloads to catalyse domestic travel recovery in the next two quarters," he added.

On the ground, images of people thronging destinations like Manali and serpentine queues of cars waiting to get into popular hill towns such as Shimla give the picture.

Noida-based IT professional Avinash Giri chose the quiet town of Naggar in Himachal Pradesh's Kullu district for his workcation.

"This is the first time that we have travelled since the onset of the pandemic. Things were pathetic in the past two months. We were cooped inside our homes, not going out even to the balcony. My wife and children wanted to be out and I decided to pick this secluded Naggar district," he said.

Both Giri and his wife are partially vaccinated.

As India's Covid numbers fall - India on Sunday reported 43,071 fresh cases and a positivity rate of 2.34 per cent, less than 5 percent for 27 consecutive days - doctors advise caution and the need to be vigilant.

"Yes, it has been a tough time. However, we cannot let our guard down. We should not be mingling with groups. It is not advisable at all. We need to stay cautious for the next two to three months.," said Dr Vikas Maurya, director and Hod, Pulmonology, Fortis Hospital Shalimar Bagh.

Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Union Health Ministry, also urged the people to 'help the government in helping them' in battling the virus by complying with COVID appropriate behaviour.

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