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Thomas Cook India & SOTC Travel release India Holiday Report – May 2023

Reiterates highly positive consumer sentiment and strong resurgence of holidays.

MUMBAI – Thomas Cook (India) Limited and its Group Company, SOTC Travel surveyed over 3500 consumers, covering a comprehensive market (including India’s metros, mini metros like Pune, Chandigarh, Coimbatore and key Tier 2-3 markets of Jaipur, Indore, Tiruchirappalli, Madurai, Nagpur, Surat, Baroda, Bhubaneswar, Lucknow, Mysore, Visakhapatnam, Guwahati, Patna, etc.) to release the India Holiday Report – May 2023. The survey was conducted over a period of one month and administered via the Companies’ online channels. The India Holiday Report – May 2023 reflects highly positive travel sentiment with insightful consumer behaviour and travel trends.
Key findings include:
  • Increased holiday intent: Travel is clearly back on the Indian consumer radar with over 84% respondents indicating increased intent to travel in the next 6 months Vs. 45% pre-pandemic
– Multiple shorter trips/mini-cations: in addition to at least one/two long annual trips of approx. 10-12 days, 82% respondents indicated preference for multiple (3-4) shorter trips/minications (domestic and international short haul)
– Higher spends: despite supply constraints leading to higher pricing, over 80% respondents displayed appetite for higher spends of approx. 20% Vs. pre pandemic
  • High growth segments: While multigenerational families (75%), Couples/DINKS (62%) continue to display a strong travel desire, high growth segments that are emerging include:
– Rise of Young India: As the youngest demography in the world, approx. 65% of India’s population is below the age of 35. Young India (millennials and Gen Z) form the new powerhouse for the sector with highest intent to travel (95%). Concept of YOLO (you only live once) is driving travel demand
– Gen S: India’s Silvers/Seniors have significant disposable income post retirement, topped up with funds from their children, and are displaying high travel appetite (58%), especially for premium holidays like cherry blossom tours in Japan and cruises
– Regional India-Bharat: Rising disposable incomes + aspirational value of holidays is resulting in strong desire (60%)
  • Experiences driving demand: pandemic induced restrictions has increased appreciation for life. 78% respondents opted for experience led travel to create memories of a lifetime with deeper exploration and distinctive local elements Vs. regular sightseeing: bucket list destinations/elements (65%); gastronomy (45%); outdoor-adventure-fun (50%); culture and history (30%)
  • Surge across both – domestic and international travel: While only domestic holidays were preferred by 40% respondents and only international by 66%; a significant 90% opted for both
– Domestic destinations favoured were Kashmir (60%); Himachal and Uttarakhand (50%), Ladakh (35%), North East (40%) Kerala (25%), Andamans (30%), Goa (30%); Bhutan in the Indian subcontinent (30%)
– International tourism is witnessing a strong resurgence. Despite visa challenges, Europe is a clear favourite preferred by over 46% of respondents led by Switzerland, France, Spain and Italy. Short hauls (50%) are witnessing rapid growth with increased interest for Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Oman; island destinations like Maldives, Mauritius (28%).
Strongly emerging on the radar are destinations like Japan and S. Korea (25%); also Vietnam-Cambodia due to new flights and increased connectivity (30%). Long hauls like Australia with end-to-end digital visa processes are seeing uptick of 20%. USA continues to face visa challenges and was selected by 8%.
  • Key considerations for travel:
– Visa challenges: formed a barrier for 70% respondents
– Flexibility: 66% respondents are keen on zero penalties for date changes/rebooking, etc.
– Access to multiple/convenient payment options is of value to 35% respondents (Travel loans, EMI, BNPL…)
– Health & Safety continues to be a consideration for travellers, however reduced to 30% respondents
  • Mode of travel: 85% respondents displayed clear return of confidence in air travel with increased demand for air-inclusive packages, 15% for drivecations; cruise holidays/sea-cations seeing a surge of 70%.
  • Customers opting for Hybrid/Omni-Channel routes to choose their Holiday: while digital models continue to see uptick of 66%; 58% respondents require the guidance of a holiday expert and prefer to purchase their holiday through retail outlets; 95% prefer phygital channels (combination of physical+digital models), based on their convenience.
  • Sustainability: 30-35% respondents are becoming more mindful about the environment/local communities.
Mr. Rajeev Kale, President & Country Head – Holidays, MICE, Visa, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd., said, “Holidays are witnessing rapid rebound, with travel clearly emerging as a non-negotiable/ must-do for Indians! Our India Holiday Report – May 2023 reveals that not only are multiple mini-cations back for 82% respondents (in addition to 1-2 long holidays), but also that they are willing to pay 20% more. Also noteworthy is the rise of Young India’s Gen Z and millennials; equally Middle India/Bharat as significant power-centres in the evolution of the sector. The pandemic having created a deeper appreciation for life, the YOLO (you only live once) mindset is driving travel desire: Indians are now seeking immersive travel experiences and wanting to live like a local! This highly positive consumer sentiment will serve a key catalyst to our Teams in creating customized holidays and exceptional experiences – that build memories of a lifetime!”
Mr. Daniel D’souza, President & Country Head, Leisure, SOTC Travel said, “Our India Holiday Report – May 2023 showcases India’s strong and growing holiday appetite with 84% respondents reflecting increased intent. With experiential travel being a key driver for over 78% respondents, the deep desire to explore fresh and unique bucket-list opportunities resonated with 65%. The impressive travel appetite emerging from regional India-Bharat has accelerated our focus on this high potential segment via our expanded regional product and vernacular content/marketing. With the increasing demand for consumer convenience and the comfort of human-touch/expertise, omnichannel/phygital channels are clearly seeing high demand (95%). As Indian travellers becoming more discerning in their choices, as a leading travel company, we are committed to meeting their evolving needs.”
* Values may exceed 100% because of multiple-choice responses
Co-Founder & Chief Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network | + Articles

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales. She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.