With the highly anticipated festive season just around the corner, India’s travel aspirations are set to peak. With the celebrations of Ganesh Chaturthi underway and other major festivals such as Dusshera and Diwali just around the horizon, leisure travel is on the rise. While the term “pent-up demand” was expected to be short-lived post covid, the appetite for travel has not diminished even in 2023. Demand is clearly on the rise. In fact, it is safe to replace “pent-up demand” with “new demand”. What the travel industry is witnessing is the new demand and new normal which has become the baseline. (Also read: Biswanath Ghat in Assam selected as Best Tourism Village of India 2023 )
Top travel trends for the festive season
Karthick Prabu, Head of Strategy, Cleartrip based on the recent data from Cleartrip’s insights shared with HT Lifestyle some key travel trends that are likely to shape the festive fervour this season.
1. Experiential travel will continue to have a stronghold on travellers’ bucket lists. The desire for unique and memorable experiences has become the mainstay, especially after the muted pandemic period.
2. In 2023, the average domestic flight price for this holiday season is at about INR 6000, which is 6% more than the same period in 2022. Irrespective of the price increase, ticket bookings are on high.
3. This holiday season, Goa has replaced Jaisalmer as the top travel destination in India, followed by Udaipur, Jaipur, Munnar, and Lucknow. Interestingly, except for Goa, none of these destinations were in the top 5 domestic destinations for the last holiday season.
4. With respect to international destinations, Pattaya has taken the top spot for this holiday season, followed by Dubai, Singapore, Bangkok, and Hanoi. In 2022, Singapore was the top travel destination. Hanoi, a city with a rich cultural heritage in Vietnam, has made it to the top 5 travel destinations for Indians.
5. Short-haul international travel destinations continue to rule the roost for Indian travellers. However, solo female travellers have two long-haul destinations – London and Toronto – in the top 5 international destinations. Dubai was the top international destination for solo female travellers last year as well.
6. Another clear trend that has emerged is the shortening of the advance booking window for both domestic and international hotel bookings. On average, the booking window has shrunk by 10-15% compared to last year’s holiday season. However, for flight bookings, there is no change in the advance booking window.
7. When it comes to domestic hotel bookings, people are extending their holiday duration by 30% compared to the same period last year. It’s clear that travel has taken paramount importance among Indian travellers.
The upcoming festive season appears to be promising for the industry, reflecting a heightened demand for travel and vacations from October to December.