Indian travellers are becoming more adventurous, with Thomas Cook India reporting a trend towards more soft adventure, long-haul and “slow travel” holidays this year.
In its 2016 Indian Summer Travel Report Card, the company found that slow travel holidays such as walking tours were gaining in popularity among Indians, with farm stays, hiking and cycling tours in Europe all seeing growth. There was also rising demand for soft adventures such as snorkelling and mountain biking, as well as culinary tours in destinations Europe and Asia.
“Our Thomas Cook India 2016 Indian Summer Travel Report Card saw exciting new trends including… slow travel, with increasing uptake from discerning travellers and young professionals who believe in being a true traveller and not merely a tourist,” said Rajeev D. Kale, Thomas Cook India’s president & country head of leisure travel & MICE.
In terms of long-haul destinations, Thomas Cook India reported high demand for Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the UK, Switzerland, France, Spain, Italy, Hungary, Czech Republic and Croatia. Traditional short-haul destinations, such as Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong-Macau and Bali, remain popular, along with newer entrants like Korea, Japan and China.
And ease of entry was a big influence on Indian travellers’ choice of destination; 31% opted for destinations that offered visa-free travel or visa-on-arrival, such as the Maldives, Indonesia, Mauritius, Kenya, and Thailand.
Self-drive holidays also emerged as a preferred option, especially for honeymooners and younger couples, with destinations such as New Zealand, the US and UK topping the list.
Thomas Cook India also found that the usual summer holiday period, which covers April and May, is now being extended into the months of June and July. This trend was witnessed among travellers from several major cities, including Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata.
The average summer holiday lasted 6-10 days for short-haul travel and 14-20 days for long-haul, and most Indians booked their holidays 120-180 days prior to departure.
The average travel budget allocated by Indians for short-haul travel INR60,000 per person, rising to between INR150,000 and INR 300,000 for long-haul trips.