As soon as the schedule for the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup 2023 was announced, cricket enthusiasts like Delhi-based Raghu Mann got down to making arrangements to travel to Ahmedabad for the India-Pakistan match. But this one-hour-long task turned into a week-long nightmare, all thanks to the enthusiasm to catch cricket’s biggest rivalry in action. “I shortlisted a few hotels after the schedule announcement. But ticket prices had shot up from 24,000 per night to 215,000 per night! It was beyond my expectations,” he exclaims.For several fans like Mann, travelling to Ahmedabad, where the India-Pakistan match will be played on October 14 at the Narendra Modi Stadium, has become all about paying an absurdly high price due to uncontrollable demand.
Digital travel platform Agoda has reported a 1,702% surge in searches for stays in Ahmedabad. “Recently, we’ve seen a huge spike in travel, driven by live events and global sports tournaments. The World Cup has always been one of the most sought-after events in India, and it’s great to see a rise in interest from international travellers as well,” says Krishna Rathi, Agoda Country Director, India, Sri Lanka and Maldives.
Hotels, too, are witnessing a more than tenfold increase in inquiries. “Ahmedabad is seeing the maximum traction for hotel and homestay bookings, followed by Chennai and Dharamshala for Team India matches,” explains Rajesh Magow, co-founder and group CEO, MakeMyTrip. Meanwhile, there’s been a 200% to 300% uptick in the price of a round-trip flight ticket during the match week, according to Google flight data.
But comparatively, hotels have observed a much steeper hike in the per-night rate. “Ahmedabad in particular has seen bookings jump by a whopping 777% since the World Cup schedule was announced. We are seeing more traction for mid-premium to premium hotels currently. This demand is expected to grow even further as the tournament approaches, as most fans tend to book their accommodation only after securing a confirmed ticket for the event,” says a spokesperson from OYO, a multinational hospitality chain.
This overwhelming tourism can be linked to the fact that visitors have to collect printouts of e-tickets from stadium counters a day or two prior to the historical match. According to a spokesperson at the Narendra Modi Stadium, to avoid any delays in admission to as people will need to collect the ticket from the dedicated counters as announced by Jay Shah, the secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).