As Olympics 2012 draws closer, enthusiastic sports fans from the city are booking their tickets to the most sought after travel destination of the year, London. In spite of the rate of British pound crossing the roof and cost of staying in UK increasing by the day, a whole set of city-based sporting addicts have planned their stay and travel for the 17 days of Olympics. Many are travelling to London for 10 days, to watch a whole set of their favourite games, others plan to watch only a few games where Indian sportspersons will be participating and spend the rest of the time sightseeing. For many who will be taking their families to London for the big games, their main agenda is to enjoy a quick vacation.
For the travel agents who deal with international travel in the city, the Olympics has helped them pick up business dramatically, as many think this is a lull season. “Usually, people do not travel a lot during this time of the year as schools and colleges have just started. But this year we have got overwhelming response. Many are travelling with their friends, but we have also had families making travel plans to the UK to visit a few places and enjoy some of the games,” said Krishnamurthy Rao, a travel agent from a leading online travel agency.
The two-way travel options and packages begin from `40,000 and go up to `84,000. Many Bangaloreans are booking tickets from Mumbai or Delhi as tickets from these destinations to London are priced much cheaper than tickets from Bangalore. While travel agents are mainly booking flight tickets and sorting out accommodation for people, many have had to figure out the entry tickets to various events at the Olympics from the official website. “We have booked everything including travel, hotel and even a cab to take us around. However, we are finding it difficult to get entry tickets to various events at the games,” said Sridhar Giri, an entrepreneur from the city. As per travel agents, the largest group flying out from Bangalore to London on 26 July consists of 20 people. Further, with almost all airlines being sold out a day before the opening ceremony of the Olympics, the eleventh hour travellers are forced to miss the ceremony and attend the games thereafter. “I booked my tickets really late. Now I have finally sorted out my visa and other things, but sadly, I will have to miss the opening ceremony. Last minute tickets are not available anywhere, but a few travel agents have assured me that they will try to do something, although at a huge price,” said Ashley R, a college student.
What has got many enthusiastic about Olympics this year is that around 81 athletes, the largest ever contingent from India will be representing the country.
India had 57 athletes participating in the 2008 Olympics.