The Indian travel scene is multi-hued—from not-so-well-off pilgrims to middle class holidayers to top-end international tourist. While domestic destinations saw a rise of 25% in visitor footfall in 2016, facilities such as visa on arrival, value-for-money packages, budget flights and improved trans-continental connectivity made international travel smoother for Indians recently. Here are some travel trends that we are we are witnessing this year.
Although not new in the Indian travel scenario, road trips, ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ style are becoming much more popular with domestic traveller this year. With better roads and highways, SUV taxis and 12 long weekends this year, the temptation to travel impromptu by road has definitely hit the wanderlust bitten, suggest various industry estimates.
People, especially the young populations prefer the highways to travel to nearby destinations for the advantages it offers–enjoying the countryside, seeing places you wouldn’t otherwise and getting a taste of the local food on the way. In the last two years, the percentage of road travel in India has increased and is expected be even higher by the end of this year.
Wellness tourism has developed a huge potential and is seeing a great spurt in 2017 with the positioning of India as a centre of excellence in Ayurveda, Yoga, Sidha and Naturopathy (AYUSH)! With the increasing number of wellness sanctuaries, ayurvedic spas, massage centres and yoga retreats being promoted by private and government entities at present, the scope of wellness tourism is no longer restricted only to Kerala or Bhutan. Wellness travel for personal enrichment and enhancement of productivity is also growing faster than ever.
According to a recent survey by a leading international travel agency specializing in experiential travel, Antarctica has emerged as the second most popular destination this year, followed by Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and the Arctic. Another survey shows that 45% of respondents plan to be more adventurous in choosing their travel destinations in 2017, while 47% would like to explore places that none of their friends have ever been to. So, the average Indian traveller is obviously rising above mediocrity and getting ready to unleash the inner explorer to visit majestic far-flung places.
With the ‘invasion’ of technology into almost every aspect of human life, the travel industry cannot remain unaffected. 2017 is seeing a never-seen-before rise in GPS technology-oriented travel plans, pit stops, and online bookings and reservations. In fact, 30% of online travel value is expected to be generated from mobile devices by the end of this year, with cloud solutions and big data analytics taking the hot seat. Hyper-connectivity brings with it the digital nomad who is tech-driven and loves to work while travelling. This in turn, gives rise to the number of ‘bleisure’ (blend of business and leisure) trips undertaken by corporate workaholics, which is becoming a buzzword in the Indian travel scene this year. On the other hand, using e-wallets and plastic money for air and rail ticketsand making hotel reservations through online portals has made the traveller’s life smoother. Cashless travel is surely the in-thing in 2017, and the digital nomad is eying big opportunities.
Exotic holidaying is not just for the super-rich, and that’s the mandate for 2017. From lavish destination weddings and overseas honeymoon to beach retreats and international destination family get-togethers, even the Indian middle class is now eyeing exotic experiences beyond the borders. A luxury cruise to Turkey or Norway can be a rejuvenating experience and make you return with a bag full memories that will last forever. Short haul international destinations such as Thailand, Dubai, Singapore, and Honkong-Macau are finding favour this year. On the domestic front, the Andaman and Lakshadweep continues to rise in popularity.
Besides luxury travel, 2017 is also witnessing travellers going back to their roots as well as making local connections in pursuit of cultural authenticity. Thanks to the growing popularity of home stays, tourists can now easily dig deep in the quest of local culture in a remote countryside for a few days or weeks, away from the hustle bustle of the city. The growth of specialized food, wine and art tours has helped travellers understand the traditions and tastes of a destination and helped in creating deep connections with the places they are visiting.
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