Travel desire in India remains strong

After quelling their wanderlust for more than two years, Indian consumers are taking every opportunity to leave home and explore new destinations, with travel demand surging on long weekends, public holidays, and summer and winter vacations.

According to Indian travel specialists, this pent-up travel demand will fuel the business’ recovery and growth through 2023.

European destinations remain a hot favorite among Indian travellers; Streets of Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland pictured

While Indian travelers’ hunger for European vacations will be sated this year with visa application delays, travel advisors are certain the region will remain a hot favorite.

Daniel D’Souza, President & Country Head – Holidays with SOTC Travel, expects visa conditions to improve soon, allowing more Indians to travel to their favorite destinations in Europe and the UK.

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Rajeev Kale, President & Country Head, Holidays, MICE, Visa at Thomas Cook (India), shared that his company’s pipeline for 2023 indicates strong international travel demand, with Europe topping the charts. Switzerland, France, Spain and Italy are hot favorites, closely followed by Turkey, Egypt, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

However, the world is truly at every Indian traveller’s oyster, according to Kale, who said customers also prefer “closer destinations” like Singapore and Thailand; Japan for its cherry blossom season; and more exotic options like Azerbaijan and Saudi Arabia.

When asked to identify key travel motives, travel consultants offered TTG Asia a wide response.

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D’Souza is seeing a “comeback of slow travel and immersive experiences,” with his clients favoring community-based activities.

Kale reports a “heavy focus on celebration travel,” where its clients mark special occasions, milestones and reunions with a treasured travel memory.

“The desire to travel for the unusual will also increase sharply, such as stays in Egypt’s white desert or Finland’s glass igloos, crevasse snorkeling in the fjords of Iceland and icebreaker cruises in Antarctica, among others,” added Kale.

Agents also pointed to strong cruise interest from their customers.

Destination marketers around the world have been quick to recognize the strong potential for outbound travel from India – a particularly important source market given the continued absenteeism of Chinese travellers.

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Several tourism bodies have held roadshows in India this year – the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tourism New Zealand and the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

Visit Icelandwhich led a roadshow to Mumbai and New Delhi last month, is in talks with major production houses in India to promote Iceland for filming and will reimburse up to 35 percent of production costs if certain criteria are met.

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