July 21, 2024

Travel & Tourism

Travel trends to look forward in 2024

IANS | January 02, 2024 12:25 PM

The unwavering appetite for exploration among Indian travellers is evident. As we step into 2024, Rajeev Kale - President and Country Head, Holidays, MICE, Visa - Thomas Cook (India) Limited, believes that the robust travel sentiment persists, and anticipates a sustained surge in demand from the dynamic Indian market.

The onset of new beginnings brings positivity and anticipation and according to the data analysis of Thomas Cook, it reveals key trends gaining traction among Indian consumers in 2024, further accelerating to meet evolving preferences.

"Event-based travel is emerging as a significant trend, driven by the enthusiasm of Young India's millennials, young professionals, and Gen Z. Their keen interest in the thrill of live concerts, events, and cultural immersion is poised to be a driving force for travel in the upcoming year. This demographic seeks immersive experiences that go beyond traditional tourism, reflecting a desire for dynamic and culturally rich journeys, " says Rajeev.

As we look ahead, to the year 2024, the data analysis of Thomas Cook reveals tourism industry anticipates the following trend not only to persist but to evolve, shaping the preferences and choices of contemporary Indian travellers.

Sleep Tourism and Wellness Retreats for Rejuvenation: Young Indians are diverging significantly from the travel habits of previous generations, moving away from tightly scheduled sightseeing holidays to embrace more relaxed vacations. The current generation, burdened by work fatigue, seeks opportunities for rest and rejuvenation. Trends like sleep tourism, which go beyond uninterrupted sleep to include activities like yoga, swimming, and spa wellness therapy, are gaining widespread popularity. Consequently, accommodations offering soundproof rooms, sleep consultations, recorded sleep meditations, pillow menus, sleep kits, and concierge services are experiencing a surge in demand. Notable destinations for such experiences include Goa, Coorg, Mysore, Kodaikanal, Alleppey, and Puducherry. At the same time, more people are choosing wellness retreats for peace and well-being. This has led to a noticeable increase in yoga and meditation tourism in places like Rishikesh, Mysore, and Pondicherry, showing how people today prefer a holistic approach to travel

Personalised and Curated Travel: Indians increasingly seek personalised and tailor-made journeys, gaining more control over their itineraries. The demand for fully customisable private holidays, especially among discerning travellers, is on the rise. This trend caters to those looking for premium, experience-led travel, with a focus on a leisurely exploration of a destination's history, culture, cuisine, and hidden gems. This is anticipated to attract interest from High Net Worth Individuals (HNIs), multigenerational families, ad-hoc groups of friends, and honeymooners/couples, reflecting a preference for exclusive and tailored travel adventures.

Visa-Friendly Destinations on the Rise: The recent announcements of free visa travel to countries like Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Kenya are expected to spark increased interest among Indian travellers. The accessibility of easy-visa and visa-on-arrival options in these destinations further contributes to the growing appeal for hassle-free international travel.

Top Destinations Overview: We foresee Australia, New Zealand, France, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, and Finland to be top choices when it comes to long-haul journeys. Meanwhile, those opting for shorter getaways favour bustling locations such as Singapore, Malaysia, the Maldives, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Thailand, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Ras Al Khaimah, Oman, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Bhutan. And for those seeking something mid-way, destinations like South Korea, Japan, and Turkiye offer compelling options.

Daniel D’Souza, President and Country Head of Holidays, SOTC Travel, adds, " In 2024, a dynamic shift in the global travel landscape is anticipated, blending enduring trends with compelling new ones. With 75 years of expertise, we believe no one understands the Indian traveller better than us. Leveraging this legacy, we not only discern our travellers' wants but also understand their evolving needs."

According to the Holidays, SOTC Travel analysis existing trends, foresee a significant uptick in emerging travel preferences sustained trends:

Hidden Gems and Offbeat Destinations: The quest for unique and lesser-explored locales continues to gain momentum, with travellers seeking authentic and offbeat experiences beyond conventional tourist destinations. Domestic destinations such as Meghalaya, Ziro, Ponmudi, Sandakphu, Gokarna, Halebidu, Patan, Varkala, Mandu, Tawang, Hampi, Jawai and many more will continue to pop up on travellers itineraries for more unconventional travel.

Adventure Tourism: The thrill of adventure is a constant driver for Indian travellers, with a growing demand for experiences such as trekking, wildlife safaris, and adrenaline-pumping activities. Destinations that will continue to cater to this demand include Rishikesh, Manali, Aamby Valley, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Goa, Kovalam, Auli, Bir Billing, Gulmarg, and Vagamon.

Sports Tourism: The intersection of sports and travel remains a significant trend, with enthusiasts travelling to witness major sporting events, tournaments, and championships across the globe.

Travel for Festivals: Cultural celebrations and festivals around the world attract Indian travellers, seeking to immerse themselves in diverse traditions and celebrations.

Luxury Travel: There is a sustained interest in luxury travel experiences, with discerning travellers seeking exclusive accommodations, personalised services, and opulent amenities.

Food Tourism: Culinary exploration remains a key trend, with travellers increasingly interested in discovering local cuisines, street food, and culinary traditions.

Cruise Holidays: Cruises continue to be a popular choice, offering a unique blend of luxury, entertainment, and the opportunity to explore multiple destinations in a single journey.

The Holidays, SOTC Travel study also indicates some of the emerging developments in the tourist business that we may anticipate, such as:

Astro Tourism: Catering to celestial enthusiasts, Astro Tourism involves travel experiences centred around stargazing, celestial events, and astronomical wonders.

Travel During Shoulder Season (Off-Season Travel): Embracing off-season travel allows for a more serene and economical exploration of destinations, avoiding peak tourist times.

Instant Holidays (Holidays On-the-Go/Short Booking Window): Catering to the fast-paced lifestyles of modern travellers, instant holidays involve spontaneous bookings and short planning windows.

Skip-Gen Travel (Grandparents Travelling With Their Grandchildren): A growing trend where grandparents create memorable travel experiences with their grandchildren, fostering intergenerational bonds.

Plan-Free Travel (Plan on the Move): Emphasising spontaneity and flexibility, plan-free travel allows for on-the-go decision-making, and adapting plans based on immediate preferences.

Religious Tourism: Spiritual journeys remain a focal point, with travellers seeking profound experiences at sacred destinations. Notable among these are the Vaishno Devi Temple in Jammu and Kashmir, Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh, Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu, Shirdi in Maharashtra, Hemkund Sahib in Uttarakhand, Jagannath Temple in Puri, Odisha, and the Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab.

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