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Thomas Cook India and SOTC Travel see significant growth in Domestic Travel


Domestic travel in India booming. Spiritual tours & unique experiences like food trails are in high demand. Kashmir remains #1, but North East & Ladakh gaining popularity.

Domestic travel in India is experiencing a boom, with travelers seeking new and exciting experiences, according to the latest insights from Thomas Cook (India) and SOTC Travel, the country’s leading travel companies.

Kashmir remains the most sought-after destination, accounting for 30% of travel demand. However, the North Eastern states (26%), Andaman (22%), Kerala (20%), and Goa (20%) are all close behind, showcasing a growing interest in diverse locations.

Interestingly, spiritual tourism is witnessing a significant resurgence, with a surge of over 45% compared to pre-pandemic levels. This growth isn’t limited to just senior citizens. Younger generations, including working professionals, millennials, and Gen Z, are making up a significant portion (75% growth) of this segment. These travelers are looking for a unique blend of spiritual experiences and local explorations. Cuisine trails and outdoor adventures are becoming increasingly popular alongside traditional visits to religious sites. This trend is highlighted by the early sell-out of Thomas Cook and SOTC’s recently launched aerial tours to religious destinations (“Dev Bhoomi – Om Parvat”). Additionally, winter tours to pilgrimage sites like Char Dham, Varanasi, Ayodhya, and Jagannath are seeing strong booking numbers.

Travel preferences are also shifting in Domestic Travel in India. Travelers are spending more (up 15% year-on-year) and opting for longer stays (up 20% year-on-year). Craving more frequent escapes, they are planning multiple shorter holidays in addition to longer vacations. Impulse bookings for weekend getaways and mini-cations are also on the rise. Hotels are experiencing this shift in preference, with guests seeking in-house experiences like fine dining, spa and wellness services, and club facilities.

When it comes to summer destinations, Leh-Ladakh remains a favorite for those seeking cooler escapes. Other popular choices include Gangtok, Sikkim, Darjeeling, Munnar, Ooty, and Coorg. Notably, Kashmir continues to be a year-round favorite.

The travel landscape is further evolving with the rise of new destinations. The North Eastern states, Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh, and Ladakh’s Kargil are gaining traction. These locations offer a unique combination of stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and adventure activities. This trend highlights a growing demand for experiential travel that goes beyond traditional sightseeing tours.

Mr. Rajeev Kale, President & Country Head – Holidays, MICE, Visa, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd said, “Domestic tourism has been powering our growth trajectory this summer. What is noteworthy is that we have achieved both our top-line and passenger numbers of 12 months of 2023, within the first six months of 2024.Indians are displaying keen appetite to explore their own country and we are witnessing exponential demand for multiple domestic trips – Young India’s working professionals and DINKs are opting for multiple mini-cations, combining public holidays with weekends for short getaways, in addition to longer domestic vacations lasting 15 days.”

Mr. Daniel D’souza, President & Country Head, Leisure, SOTC Travel said, “”We are excited to share our delivery on our Domestic business: we have achieved our 2023 business numbers within just six months of 2024! Our strategy to motivate Indians to explore our own country is clearly working very well and this is a great motivation for our Teams. India offers an incredible diversity of hidden gems and exceptional experiences, and our data trends reveal that Indians are actively exploring them. We are bullish on India’s Domestic segment and at SOTC we are ready to set new goals for the next six months and year ahead.”

Co-Founder & Managing Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.