By Gaurav Ajmera
India is a land of diverse landscapes and distinct cultures, drawing a keen interest from the world. However, domestic as well as international tourism have not been significant contributors to the economy. Even though the country is a young player, in the past couple of decades, it has put itself on the world map as a tourist hotspot, offering vast and diverse landscapes, abundant cultural heritage, business opportunities owing to hundr of startups cropping up each day and the availability of cost-effective, quality education.
An amalgamation of these factors have put India on the fast-track to becoming the world’s most sought after tourist destinations. Given this exploding potential in the country, the hospitality industry is witnessing rapid growth, fuelled by technological innovations and adoption of world-class industry standards. Across the spectrum, we see the travel and tourism ecosystem offering quality products and services, backed by technology at good value for money; right from low-cost airlines, budget hotels at the click of a button, a wide array of unique local businesses and easy access to pocket-friendly first-and-last-mile transport services. Such changes have empowered people from all walks of life to now fulfill their travel aspirations.
Smaller cities will witness a spurt in tourism
With infrastructural development, the rise of spiritual tourism and the increased use of the internet across Tier II and III cities, many of these destinations have emerged as less-explored hidden gems, piquing interest among domestic and international tourist communities. Given the huge unearth opportunity in discovering these destinations, we expect 2020 to be the year of local, off-beat locations. To give you a quick example, OYO’s Summer Index 2019 revealed that families, couples as well as solo travellers preferred to explore unique locations spread across India’s diverse landscapes, like Kufri, Bir Billing and Spiti valley.
Another factor that’s causing this trend to peak charts in 2020 is the use of social media. Yes, social media is changing the way millennials travel, influencing the places they choose, the airlines and hotel stays they opt for and the experiences they chase. Posting their travels on social platforms is one of the main reasons, millennials look for unique, undiscovered hotspots.
Rise of staycations
In the past couple of years, we’ve observed that working millennials are looking to escape city life in search of tranquility or a break from the monotonous way of life. But owing to the increasing time-crunch experienced by urban consumers, spontaneous staycations in the city itself are becoming popular among millennials looking for a quick-fix. For instance, every long weekend, we observe a rise in bookings within a given city by consumers from the city-limits itself. Convenience and cost-efficiency are two other determinants driving this modern trend among urban India’s metropolitan cities.
Spontaneous staycations are becoming popular among millennials looking for a quick-fix.
With the advent of the millennial workforce, strengthened by the lack of sufficient recreational time, ‘Bleisure’ travel is booming in India. This year, Bleisure travelling was at an all-time high and will continue to be popular in 2020. In a time-short world that we live in, the conquest for better work-life balance is growing stronger among Indians. Most new-age corporate travellers will continue to make the most of their work trips by exploring culture, food and local attractions by extending their business trip.
This year, Bleisure travelling was at an all-time high and will continue to be popular in 2020.
Value for money drives millennial choices
Millennials prioritise travel as their number one aspiration and are spending more on experiences like food, adventure, etc. In India, we’ve observed that this young generation is on the lookout for quality experiences that are essentially wallet-friendly. In fact, our internal stats revealed consumer preference for the budget category of hotels, in comparison to other offerings.
‘Budget for Leisure’ is a category that’s primarily budding due to the changing socio-cultural factors, like the emergence of the nuclear family, independently living students and working professionals, access to a plethora of quality experiences at varied price points on the world wide web, giving consumers the power of choice, unlike earlier times.
Tech-enabled and tech-reliant travellers
Today, we see travellers go cashless as millennials prefer pre-payments. The FinTech industry is booming, which is subsequently setting the tone for pre-payments to facilitate cashless transactions and avoid the hassles that come with physical cash. Pre-payments are popularizing mainly because of the availability of discounts, cashbacks, access to loyalty programs that help build long term engagement with customers who are paying online.
According to a report by Bain Company, nearly 35% of Indians will book their travels online by 2021. We expect the vast majority of holiday seekers to book their travel and stay online. Furthermore, with access to information and quick discovery on the go, the tourism industry has been revolutionised for generations to come.
Furthermore, with the Indian Government’s push to endorse tourism as well as our Honorable Prime Minister’s plea to citizens to explore Incredible India, we are set to be one of the world’s largest tourism economies, driving changes and transforming the industry for the better.
Satiate The Wanderlust In You
All the travel junkies out there, if there is one listicle you must focus on, it’s this one. With 2019 travel goals (hopefully) met, it’s time to start planning for the 2020 holidays. Booking.com has delved into global booking trends to reveal 10 of the top emerging travel destinations for 2020.
Jodhpur from India has found its spot among the top 10 list, alongside some lesser known spots in Eastern Europe to under-the-radar spots in Asia. Commenting on the study, Ritu Mehrotra, Country Manager, India, Sri Lanka and Maldives for Booking.com said, “As we proceed towards a new decade, we will see travel becoming more and more sustainable and technologically-advanced, further aided by enhanced services and offerings that enable the modern day inquisitive traveller to experience the world.
81% of Indian travellers say that in 2020 they want to go somewhere that offers experiences they’ve never had before. From catering to their peaked interest in lesser known destinations to counter over-tourism, to customised travel recommendations, we want to ensure that the travellers have the most diverse selection of places to stay at as we help them prepare and plan their travel in 2020 and beyond.”
Here’s where you should be headed to satiate the wanderbug in you.