Ahmedabad Skyrocketing hotel prices, a fleet of chartered planes, tourist attractions twinkling and spruced up — with the World Cup final between India and Australia at the 132,000-capacity Narendra Modi stadium on the anvil on Sunday, Ahmedabad is a city brimming with anticipation.
The ceremony in the stadium is set to be a spectacle, with an air show at the beginning, a bevy of performers and 1,200 drones lighting up the sky at the end, officials said.
This excitement has translated into impossibly priced hotel prices, and exorbitant flight tickets.
Himanshu Joshi, who works with a private company in Vadodara and is on a Diwali break in Ahmedabad, thought he would book tickets and a hotel room for the final. “I was booked into a five-star hotel on the SG Highway and thought I would extend my stay for the final. But all the tickets to the stadium are already sold out, and the rentals on Saturday and Sunday have gone up to ₹70,000 a day for hotels that are usually ₹9,000 a night,” Joshi said.
Popular travel booking sites such as Make My Trip and Booking.com showed room tariffs for Saturday and Sunday at above ₹40,000 rupees a night for most star hotels. Rooms at Vivanta, for instance, begin at ₹45000 a night, at the Courtyard by Marriott for ₹50,000 a night, and the Renaissance Ahmedabad at ₹75,000 a night. The ITC Narmada, the hotel that is playing host to the Indian cricket team, is priced at ₹240,000 a night for November 18 and 19.
Officials at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Airport in Ahmedabad said that over a 100 chartered flights are expected beginning on Saturday. “While the SVPI airport has space for about 35 to 40 such aircraft, other chartered planes will be accommodated at nearby airports including Vadodara and Surat,” an official said.
For the special display by the Indian Air Force just before the game begins at 2pm, the airspace will remain closed from 1.30pm to 2 pm, officials at the airport said. “SVPI airport has also accepted requests from commercial airlines to operate additional flights to metro cities to serve the maximum number of passengers intended to travel during the final match,” the airport said in a statement.
The local administration is also preparing tight security, particularly with Prime Minister Narendra Modi expected to be in attendance, with more than 10,000 personnel from multiple state and central agencies deployed in the stadium and across the city. Gujarat chief minister Bhupendra Patel will review preparations at the stadium on Saturday morning, Gujarat government officials said.
The local administration is also preparing for an influx of tourists, and attractions across the city are being spruced up. “We aim to present Ahmedabad as a pristine, well-maintained, and environmentally friendly city, highlighting our key tourist attractions for World Cup final spectators coming from other states. Movies and brochures have been distributed to tour operators to showcase the UNESCO heritage city of Ahmedabad.
Additionally, for those interested in extending their stay post-match, we encourage exploring the rich heritage of Ahmedabad along with its notable places of visit as Science City, Kankaria Lake, and Sabarmati Riverfront,” said M Thennarasan, commissioner of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation.