NEW DELHI: Indians are not shying away from taking loans to fuel their travel aspirations, according to the country’s leading tour and travel operator Thomas Cook. In its Summer Report 2019, the firm said that there has been a 50-60% jump in travel loans over last year especially from young travellers in the age group of 25–35 years, who believe in instant gratification. The data indicates an average of 20-25 transactions per month for an average loan of ₹1 lakh.
Thomas Cook has identified the shift from a saver’s economy to a spender’s economy as there has been a significant rise in the number of vacations Indians are taking as a family.
“Combined with their willingness to explore unchartered territories, and a demand for immersive experiences, travel brands and services are being pushed to reinvent the wheel even during the peak season to capture consumer attention. This is a positive development not just for consumers, but the industry as a whole,” said Rajeev Kale, president and country head–holidays, MICE, Visa, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd.
The operator said that there has been a 22% growth in summer holiday booking as compared to the previous year.
Unlike popular perception, the growth in travel is coming from country’s smaller tier II and III towns. While metro/mini-metro cities witnessed 20% growth in travel bookings over last year, smaller towns such as Amritsar or Hubli have showcased a high growth in demand of over 30%.
Indian millennials, a big growth driving segment, are increasingly looking for offbeat destinations and unique experiences. The operator said it has witnessed around 28% increase for experiences like scuba diving (Andamans/Malaysia), fissure snorkeling (Iceland) and alpine treks/glacier climbs (Switzerland/Canada/Scandinavia). Additionally, adrenalin highs of sky diving/bungee jumping/zorbing/abseiling (Australia-New Zealand and South Africa) are in demand for their brag worthiness. In fact, most millennials prioritize experiences over luxury and economise on transport and accommodation and splurge on local and interest/passions based experiences.
Meanwhile, country’s work weary business travellers are increasingly opting for short travel breaks to relax and rejuvenate, leading to a strong 33% jump in such trips. Destinations in demand include both domestic (Goa, Kerala and Himachal Pradesh) and international (Mauritius, Dubai-Abu Dhabi and Turkey).
Ditching the one long-haul a year tradition, Indians are also latching onto an emerging trend of ‘Micro-Breaks’ which has seen a growth of 30%.
Typically, spanning between three and seven days with travellers gravitating towards on–the–go travel planning, micro breaks destinations range from two to three weekend domestic getaways to one or two visa friendly international destination holiday.
The report also said that the experiential luxury travel has also grown by 15% to 20% and has expanded to include exotic destinations like Iceland that offer eclectic experiences.
A classic vintage car drive along the French Riviera or private wine tasting experiences in South Africa were among some of the new experiences defining the Indian HNI-UHNI segment. Luxury backpacking also displayed a strong demand from India’s luxury travellers.