Experts Predict 5 Trends About Future Of Travel In India

by Natasha Monteiro
Experts Predict 5 Trends About Future Of Travel In India

“If we were meant to stay in one place, we’d have roots instead of feet.” A famous saying that was quoted by many a wander-luster before a deadly virus gripped the world and brought it to a standstill. Countries all over the world shut their borders, states shut themselves out too within the country itself and people were asked to stay indoors.

But now, almost three months after World Health Organisation (WHO) declared coronavirus a pandemic, countries are healing and are slowly opening their borders. This, of course, is being done rather cautiously. While a number of countries have managed to bring COVID-19 cases to zero, India is nowhere close to success and currently ranks 7th among the top 10 most infected cases in the world. However, the central government has announced some relaxations in Lockdown 5.0, with a three phase plan to open up. While international travel is still banned, inter state travel is allowed and domestic flights have also resumed from May 25th. But will people travel? What is the Indian sentiment towards the travel industry and what will the future of travel look like? Well, we spoke to the experts across various booking sites and this what they had to say!

1. Indians Do Plan To Travel In 2020

If you thought a virus could dampen the Indian spirit, think again. Despite the uncertainties around travel, a certain section of Indians indicated their interest and willingness to travel in 2020.

Mr. Daniel D’souza, President and Country Head, Leisure, SOTC Travel said, “According to our Holiday Readiness Travel Report – Future of Travel post COVID-19, Travel is set to rebound as Indians will continue to travel. Around 14% respondents indicated that they are likely to travel in 2020 once restrictions are lifted.”

2. Domestic Travel Will Take Precedence Over International Travel

In two different surveys done by and SOTC, it was found that once the restrictions were lifted, majority of Indians would prefer travelling to domestic locations over international destinations.

Ritu Mehrotra, Country Manager – India, Sri Lanka, Maldives at said, “In early May, we ( shared that while historically domestic accommodation bookings represent approximately 45% of’s total business globally; in April 2020,’s domestic share increased to approximately 70%. Having also delved into the travel wish lists created by hopeful Indian travellers on during March and April 2020, in-country stays (domestic travel) feature in nearly 67% of all those wish listed by Indians during this time of uncertainty. This is a jump from the same time last year when domestic properties accounted for 48% of those wish listed. The top wish-listed domestic destinations for Indians are Mumbai, Goa, New Delhi, Lonavala and Bengaluru, suggesting that everyone’s been dreaming of sunshine and beaches, alongside the stimulation of the big city after weeks of confinement.”

A separate report by SOTC on travel destination wish-list picked out breezy hill stations in India.

“A domestic holiday was the first choice of 64% respondents. Destinations selected were Ladakh (20%), Goa (17%), North East (15%), Kerala (11%); Himachal Pradesh and Kashmir followed closely. Bhutan (17%) in the Indian sub-continent. Destinations at a driveable distance were also preferred, including: Coorg, Ooty, Mussoorie, Shimla, Amritsar, Munnar, etc,” said Dsouza.

He added,”The future of travel is also dependent on how countries adopt measures to make their destinations safe enough for travel. According to the survey report, 36% respondents showed preference for an international holiday. Short haul destinations (Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Dubai, Abu Dhabi) saw strong interest (41%). Long-haul destinations that traditionally witness demand in Q4 also featured, like Australia & New Zealand (20%); USA (16%). What is noteworthy is the significant demand for Europe at 38%; favoured destinations included Switzerland, France, Germany, UK, Czech Republic.”

3. Smaller Groups For Travel, Solo Travel & Staycations Will Get A Huge Boost

With the fear of coronavirus and its hight level of contagiousness still looming large over the globe, experts say that there will be a drastic shift in the way people will choose to travel. Solo trips will get a huge boost. Indians will prefer travelling in smaller groups for safety and security. Staycations within the city will also see a huge demand.

Also read: 9 Destinations For Your First Solo Trip

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Dsouza said, “Travellers will be more concerned about security as well as safety and hygiene while travelling to a destination.  According to the report, respondents displayed a noticeable preference towards travelling in smaller groups- primarily due health/hygiene. Around 63% respondents were inclined to travel solo, with their immediate/extended family or friends/colleagues; 25% respondents preferred to travel in small groups of below 20 co-travellers and 12% opted for a group size of approximately 35+.”

Also read: Air Travel Is Still The Safest Way To Travel: Vistara CCO

4. Travellers Will Look For More Meaningful & Sustainable Travel

If there is anything that this pandemic has taught us, it is to value our environment and to understand sustainability. Said Mehrotra, “One of the positive lessons the pandemic has taught us is to highlight the impact our actions can have on the environment, meaning sustainable travel is likely to be more top of mind for travellers than before. From our research undertaken earlier this year, we already know that prior to COVID-19, there was a noticeable shift in travellers becoming more conscious about the environmental impact they can have on destinations. Over nine in 10 (96%) Indian travellers identified sustainable travel as important to them, while nearly seven in 10 (76%) said they were more determined to make sustainable choices when looking to travel again in the future.”

“In the coming months we can assume that the appetite for sustainable and responsible travel to build even more momentum, with the need to give back to local communities both far and close to home.  Technology will also continue to play an integral role in travel – perhaps even more so post pandemic – from early planning stages, to in-trip.”

5. Travellers Will Pick Bigger Brands Whom They Trust

In these uncertain times, the experts say there will be a shift to brands that are more trustworthy as people want to be assured of their hygiene, safety & security.

“We do see a shift in preference for bigger brands for trust, confidence and reassurance with the future of Travel. Consumers continued to express interest in a personal touch/reassurance to their travel booking experience- with 58% opting to purchase holidays through retail outlets or home service (38% retail and 20% home visits). This was followed by 40% opting for online channels (Website/App) and 12% stating preference for video chat,” said Dsouza.

Well, whether you are planning a trip or no, we at Curly Tales promise to still give you your regular dose of travel and here’s a virtual tour of Bali that you can take from the comfort of your home!