Heatwave Scorches Travel Plans as Indians Seek Escape with Record Outbound Flights

Travelers Seek Relief in Europe as Temperatures Soar

A record number of flights are departing major Indian airports as residents flee the scorching heatwave gripping the north and central regions of the country, according to data from Trevolution Group, a leading travel conglomerate.

Outbound airfare sales for May surged by over 64% compared to the same period last year, Trevolution reported. This surge comes as the number of flights booked to arrive in India plummeted by 37% compared to April, when temperatures were more moderate.

The stark contrast in travel trends highlights the significant impact the heatwave is having on travel plans.

Since mid-May, Delhi, the capital of India, has sweltered under an intense heatwave, with temperatures reaching a staggering 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit). The extreme weather prompted authorities to issue a “red alert” and close schools across Delhi, northwest India, northern Madhya Pradesh, and Gujarat.

As of today, a week later, the heatwave continues to grip northwest India, extending to regions like the Western Himalayas, Madhya Pradesh, Vidarbha, and Chhattisgarh, posing a significant risk to public health and safety. The Indian Meteorological Department warns that dangerous conditions are likely to persist until the end of the month.

Faced with record-breaking temperatures, Indians are increasingly seeking cooler destinations. Trevolution’s data reveals a surge in outbound travel, with European countries like Italy, Greece, Portugal, and the United Kingdom being top choices. Outbound airfare sales to the UK have skyrocketed by 59% compared to May 2023. As these European destinations are currently experiencing shoulder season with more moderate weather, they are seen as ideal escapes for travelers seeking respite from the heat.

Traditionally, India experiences a peak in inbound tourism during the spring and summer months, with May typically seeing a surge in flight bookings. However, the unprecedented heatwave has caused a shift in travel patterns, with travelers prioritizing destinations with more comfortable temperatures.