Breaks monthly revenue records; Kabini backwaters of Nagarahole hot favourite
After being confined to their homes for several months due to COVID pandemic, tourists have now started going out and travelling, giving momentum to a trend that is termed as ‘Revenge Tourism’ where pent-up demand has been noticed with large number of people coming out of their homes and booking holiday destinations.
Cashing in on the ‘Revenge Travel’ trend is the State-owned Jungle Lodges and Resorts (JLR) and the occupancy rates have broken monthly records. And the favourite destination is Kabini backwaters that has continuously seen 70 to 100 percent occupancy with many in the waiting line.
Between April 2019 and March 2020, the JLR recorded a revenue of Rs. 68 crore and between March 2020 and March 2021, a revenue of Rs. 55 crore was earned from all the 25 JLR properties across Karnataka. “In December 2020, we earned Rs. 10 crore in just one month — the highest so far — and this record was broken in July 2021 with Rs. 7.10 crore income in just 25 days, soon after the resorts and jungle safaris were unlocked on July 5 and travelling started immediately,” Kumar Pushkar, Managing Director, JLR, told Star of Mysore.
Kabini backwaters under the Nagarahole Tiger Reserve reported a minimum of 70 percent occupancy and extending to 100 percent most of the days, he said.
“All the other resorts JLR owns too reported a minimum 50 to 70 percent occupancy including the interior ones like the Dandeli Reserve,” he said and added that even JLR resorts at Bandipur recorded good occupancy.
Usually, JLR gets visitors during weekends but in July 2021, people travelled on all days after being confined at homes. Some of them were working professionals who used to work and enjoy safaris during their stay, Pushkar said.
JLR had even offered attractive discounts and this might be one of the reasons for the sudden surge. “But it was surprising for us as we broke the monthly record,” the IFS Officer said.
“We have noticed that there has been a change in the mindset of people in this travel boom. They are preferring jungles as cities have COVID. Moreover, they are coming to Government-owned resorts as they know that rules will be strictly adhered to and there will be no violations. Tourists feel safe here and we too are offering the best — leisure, work atmosphere, adventure and good connectivity,” he explained.
Also, vaccination drives have made people more confident of travelling and easing of COVID-19 curbs. Interestingly, there is a strong positioning in the leisure segment focused sharply on families and they are staying clear of weddings or MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions). Instead, they are preferring jungle resorts.
But there is a dip in travel this month (August). “While there are no overseas travellers, people are coming from Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh and also from the North. We are keeping our fingers crossed as we will have to see how this pandemic pans out to determine real revenues. Last year we had an estimated loss of Rs. 26 crore and the actual loss was about Rs. 8 crore,” he said.
Innovatively, JLR is offering a weekend package to coincide with the ongoing weekend curfew where tourists can check into the jungle resort on Friday afternoon and check out on Monday morning. “They will be charged only for one day under this package. We have floated this package for Mysuru, Kodagu and Chamarajanagar. While last weekend saw tepid response, we have good bookings under this offer for next week,” Pushkar added.