Holidaymakers' rush boosts ticket sales
Many Bangladeshis no longer spend their holidays with family and friends at home. Now, they travel overseas for leisure, entertainment or shopping.
Eid-ul-Azha this year is no exception. Travellers are queuing up to buy tickets to their favourite destinations. But many are being forced to reschedule their travel plans as air tickets are not readily available.
Most flights to Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Nepal and Bhutan are booked out, according to ticket sellers and tour operators.
“It is tough to get tickets to Thailand and Malaysia during the Eid holidays. Our holiday packages are sold, and still there is huge demand,” said Zahirul Alam Bhuiyan, chief executive of Discovery Tours and Logistics that manages more than 200 outbound travellers under Eid packages.
Alam said people no longer decide at the last minute to travel overseas; instead, they plan ahead.
“Now, it is impossible without making plans in advance. There are no air tickets available.”
Tour operators said the destinations of choice for Bangladeshis are in Southeast Asia, followed by Europe and the US. But most holidaymakers are going to Thailand, Malaysia, Nepal, Bhutan and Singapore.
A three-day/four-night package for Thailand now costs Tk 35,000 a person, up from around Tk 30,000 earlier, according to Discovery Tours. The package includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and sightseeing.
Lexus Holidays, another tour operator, is also overbooked this holiday season.
The operator normally sends 10-12 persons a day under its different packages, but the number goes up to 100 during the Eid holidays.
Lexus offered a five-day/six-night trip to Thailand at Tk 39,500 a person, up more than 10 percent in off-peak seasons.
“We are at full capacity. There is no air ticket for Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore or Nepal,” said Masum Ali, an executive of Lexus Holidays.
Officials of Asian Holidays and Galaxy Tours also said the same on the pressures they are facing from the travellers.
Ishtiak Ahmed, a partner of CAMAIR Travels, said tickets to Thailand, Nepal, Singapore and Malaysia are sold out despite higher prices during this Eid holiday.
“You cannot get a return ticket for Bangkok at Tk 35,000-Tk 36,000 now, up from around Tk 30,000 at other times,” said Ahmed.
Moreover, the upscale travellers also choose cruise trips in Singapore and other countries, said Alam of Discovery Tours.
“We are taking a group of travellers to Russia during these Eid holidays,” he added.
The exact number of Bangladeshis going out of the country as tourists is hard to come by.
About 18 lakh people fly out of the country a year, said Syed Quadir, vice president of Galaxy Holidays, a top tour operator.
They include tourists, migrant workers, foreigners, students, businessmen and medical tourists. Tourists account for about 20 percent of them and their number is increasing by the year, he said.
There are about 350 tour operators in Bangladesh. Of them, about 60 organise outbound tours, according an official of state-run Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation.