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Wednesday 22 January 2020

Thomas Cook India releases its Travel Trends Report 2020

Thomas Cook India releases its Travel Trends Report 2020
From Digital Detox travel to Bollywood inspired holidays, Thomas Cook India lists its top travel trends for 2020

Thomas Cook (India) Ltd., India’s leading integrated travel and related financial services company, has released its list of travel trends for the year 2020, basis feedback received from over 2700 respondents across India. With travel continuing to fuel aspirations of Indian consumers, Thomas Cook India shares the trends that will drive travel during the year:

Digital Detox Travel: With a clear focus to detach from over-use of their smart phones, over 67% of India’s working professionals, millennials and solo travellers have indicated their desire to go tech-free and maintain a healthy balance. 2020 will hence see Indians opting for digital detox holidays, selecting destinations with limited/zero network connectivity. Experiences like a trek in the Himalayas, tusker trails at a jungle resort near Bandipur Project Tiger reserve, a beach safari camp in Australia while swimming with whales, a wellness-mindfulness retreat at Thailand’s Koh Yao/ Karkloof Spa in South Africa’s safari heartland, diving & snorkelling off remote islands in Malaysia/ Maldives, immersing in traditional Balinese culture in Ubud or at a village near historic Al Ain, Abu Dhabi- allows one  to truly appreciate the destination while disconnecting from the outside world.

Micro-cations/Bite-Size Breaks: With 2020 offering 21 extended weekends, 66% of Indian travellers are choosing multiple micro-cations/bite-size breaks- a clear shift from one long annual vacation. With several public, festive and regional holidays falling on weekdays in 2020, Indians are smartly taking leave to combine it with a public holiday and create an extended/ smart weekend getaway. India’s work weary professionals are opting for easy-visa/ no visa short-haul destinations like Indonesia, Dubai-Abu Dhabi, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Mauritius, Maldives, Macau, Reunion Island, Bhutan and emerging destinations like Myanmmar, Vietnam and Oman. Favourite domestic destinations include Andamans, Kerala, Ladakh and the North East.

‘Stay-cations’ will also witness an uptick in 2020, with over 23% of India’s metro consumers indicating interest to relax and pamper themselves- within their city of residence. With city hotels wooing consumers with special weekend discounts and added benefits of spa-wellness and dining, this ensures an alluring weekend break.

Biz-cations/B-leisure: By extending an official trip by 3-5 days, 56% of India’s business travellers are keen to convert them into quick holidays. For India’s cash rich, but time poor corporates, biz-cations also offer valuable family time- by flying them in post meetings for a bonding experience. Thomas Cook India’s internal data reveals strong potential for destinations including UK, USA, Singapore, Switzerland, Germany, Malaysia, UAE, Thailand and Australia. And such options are aplenty: a self-drive of the Scottish Highlands post a meeting in London, enjoying the adrenalin rush of an F1 drive at the Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, clearwater caving in Malaysia; family fun at a K-pop concert in South Korea, Dubai Parks & Resorts or a Singapore cruise.

Off-Season Travel/Bang for the Buck Travel: With an anticipated 21% uptake in demand in 2020 to avail of attractive discounts and special offers, shoulder/low season travel is already seeing increase: Autumn & Winter travel to European favourites of UK, France, Switzerland, Italy; Summer in Dubai-Abu Dhabi; also emerging options like South Korea and Canada in Spring.  
Indians, being quintessential value seekers, want to extract maximum value for their 2020 holidays. Over 70% have displayed strong interest in smart travel- using options like the Eurail/ Swiss Travel Pass/ Paris Visite that offer discounts and value additions across key attractions; equally viable accommodation options like apartments, local/farm stays; early bird tour packages and airline discounts.

Me-cations: For Indians faced with the increased demands work, family and social life, especially working mothers, 2020 is slated to see a growth of 18% for ‘me-cations’ - planned around unique interests/passions, learning new skills or self-discovery. Experiences in demand include: learning the art of Muay Thai/kick boxing in Thailand, a cooking class with local chefs in Malaysia, Italy’s Tuscany or at Le Cordon Bleu in France, K-beauty/Taekwondo certification in South Korea, a Tree-Top trek in Singapore. India’s travellers seeking some ‘me’ time are driving the new age of ‘experience economy’.

Slow Travel: Indians are known to visit as many places as possible per trip. 2020 however, is going to be about a new breed of travellers who believe in taking it slow (15%). This traveller intends to experience travel at a leisurely pace, resorting to slower modes of transport like peddle-bikes, trams, boats and walking; as well as living like a local in a chateau/apartment/home-stay to truly savour their surroundings, its people and cultures; appreciating the science behind coffee and tea while staying at plantations in Karnataka or Assam; heady wine-cuisine experiences in Bordeaux/Champagne, France or Italy’s Tuscany; a laid back river cruise on Lake Königssee, Germany; indulgent therapeutic experiences in Fiji’s hot springs/mud pools or a meandering biking trip along Japan’s coastal villages.

Bollywood Inspired Vacations: With ‘Film Tourism’ clearly trending, and Indians setting their travel goals around movie themes and iconic places made famous by Bollywood, 2020 will see an increase in Bollywood inspired vacations. Bollywood destinations in demand include Lake Como and historic Venice in Italy, Switzerland’s Gsaad, Montreux and Zurich, Amsterdam, Bruges and Innsbruck along with Spain and Portugal.

Eco-Conscious Travel/Volun-Tourism: A significant emerging trend (growth of 13%) is the new-age travellers’ desire to preserve the heritage and eco-system of the destination they visit while also altering behavioural and lifestyle patterns to become responsible travellers. Volunteering for the Surin Project in Thailand that promotes sustainable elephant tourism, opting for self-sustaining accommodation in the Maldives, eco-friendly rain-forest lodges in Sabah, Malaysia, tree houses in New Zealand, urban gardening workshops in France, clean-up tours of Mumbai’s beach or Nepal’s mountain trails are seeing interest.

Cruise Tourism: Cruising is no longer restricted to the luxury HNI-UHNI set and has become highly aspirational among millennials, ad hoc groups of friends, families, women travellers, Gen S and MICE. Having witnessed a growth in demand of over 20% by offering a unique all-inclusive and affordable vacation, discovery of multiple destinations sans the hassle of managing check in-check out, transfers, packing and unpacking; it is also a great way to relax and bond with extended family of varying age-groups. Additionally, cruises offer an array of cuisine and plenty of activities and entertainment for all age groups, and offshore day excursions at different destinations enroute. With its fresh, opulent appeal, cruising to popular international destinations include South East Asia (short haul convenience), Mediterranean, Scandinavia’s Fjord cruises, Caribbean, Middle East, Ushuaia: the southernmost city in the world, the Amazon River through Peru, and the unique experiences of an Icebreaker cruise to Antarctica; while Andaman, Kerala, Goa and Lakshadweep continue to be some of the favoured domestic cruise destinations.

Commenting on the travel trends of 2020, Mr. Rajeev Kale, President & Country Head – Holidays, MICE, Visa, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd., said, Travel plans of Indians in 2020 will be focussed towards affordability and experiences. While maximising on value/bang for their buck, what is interesting is the growing number of Indian travellers who plan to travel slow, experiment with accommodation options, unique experiences as well as learn a new skill, or even focus on saving Planet Earth. The one long annual vacation has clearly made way for multiple micro-cations and our 2020 Travel Trends Report speaks volumes of India’s growing travel appetite and their desire to seize fresh, unique travel opportunities.”

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