“Dhoni finishes off in style. A magnificent strike into the crowd! India lifts the World Cup after 28 years!” These words of former India coach Ravi Shastri on the winning shot of captain MS Dhoni during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 are etched in popular memory. As the country once again prepares to host the event, fans across 10 host cities are expected to throng stadiums to cheer the Indian team to win first ICC trophy after a decade long break.
Travel aggregators and analysts are reporting a surge in prices and volume of bookings which has added to the hype of the tournament. When BookMyShow had opened the sales of tickets last month, they were sold out within minutes which had led to severe backlash for the platform. In the following weeks, the prices of tickets for high octane clashes like India vs Pakistan surged to even Rs 56 lakh on the black market. Given the love for cricket in the country, the craze around the tournament is not surprising.
With a surge in travel across the country expected, the travel industry is looking to reap the benefits in the third quarter of FY24.
Cricket Bonanza for Travel Industry?
Santosh Kumar, Country Manager for India, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Indonesia at Booking.com, told Outlook Business that not only domestic, but the platform is also receiving a lot of interest from overseas travelers during the world cup period.
“According to the Booking.com data, the top searched destinations in India from October 5 to November 19 include key cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Dharamshala where the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup is taking place,” he told Outlook Business.
Karthick Prabu, Head of Strategy at Cleartrip, said that the platform has seen a surge in advance bookings and an increase in average hotel stay duration. Prices of hotels have also seen a strong rise during the world cup period.
As per the inputs shared by Prahlad Krishnamurthi, Chief Business Officer at Cleartrip, hotel prices across host cities have seen 35 per cent surge as compared to the average amount. The platform is seeing a 75 per cent growth in air travel bookings on India vs Pakistan matchday in Ahmedabad, compared to the week before the matchday. For India vs England match in Lucknow, the company is seeing a 20 per cent growth in the segment.
Data on air tickets booked shared by FCM India with Travelbizmonitor showed that the volume has surged by 38 per cent year over year across host cities during the world cup period.
For hotels, the surge during the season has come at a time when the sector is recovering from the blow of pandemic. The industry’s Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR) had fell to Rs 1,597 in FY21 from Rs 4,033 in FY20. In FY22, it recovered to Rs 2,484. Estimates for the industry suggested that RevPAR recovered to over Rs 4,000-4,100 in FY23. Jinesh Joshi, Research Analyst at Prabhudas Lilladher, says that Q3 is expected to be strong for the industry due to the world cup and festive season. “The overall outlook for the industry is positive and they are expected to continue their growth in FY24 and FY25 at a good pace.”
Analytics firm Anarock said in a recent report that the RevPAR growth is expected to be in double digit for the October-March 2024 period of the financial year. The firm expects the cricket world cup to boost the earnings of industry players.
With men in blue set to start their campaign against regional rivals Pakistan in Ahmedabad on October 14, they can expect fans from across the country to cheer them on from the stands. While domestic cricket fans pray for the repeat of Dhoni’s iconic shot to seal the trophy in style at home, travel sector is preparing to cash in on cricket’s biggest event.