It would not be wrong to say that most Indians love to travel, and they travel frequently. As much as they work hard, they also believe in relaxing and enjoying life. And until last year, people could take off any time of the year, and visit a place of their liking — whether domestic or international.
But this year, the trends have been different. Travelling was halted in the country in the first half of the year. And now, the pandemic — which has mostly shut international corridors, barring a few — is making people tread with caution and undertake smaller journeys.
According to a survey conducted by Booking.com — one of the world’s leading digital travel players — people have been taking smaller journeys, and discovering and rediscovering heaps of wonderful experiences closer to home.
The travel patterns of Indians in the last few months reveal that the average distance Indians travelled between June and August 2020, is down 56 per cent compared with the same time last year, which is slightly lower than the global average of 63 per cent, the portal finds. And looking back at the same time last year, while Indian travellers journeyed — on average — 1,786 km per booking, in 2020, that distance has dropped to just 780 km.
The survey further shows that more than half — that is 67 per cent — of the total distance travelled by Indians between June 1 and August 31, 2020, was within the country, compared with the 34 per cent in 2019. Additionally, New Delhi, Bengaluru, Gurugram, Mumbai and Hyderabad featured as the top most-booked destinations between June and August this year, followed by Jaipur, Chandigarh, Pune, Chennai and Kolkata.
When it came to accommodation choice, travellers were more likely to have opted for a motel, followed by a villa, a hotel, a lodge and a homestay, all of which topped the rankings of trending accommodation types for Indian travellers.
The survey also reveals that at the end of 2019, 51 per cent of Indians were dreaming of beautiful beaches and 42 per cent of bustling cities. Forty per cent even dreamt of visiting family and friends.
While travelling may have changed, exploring the pink city of Jaipur or soaking in the nawabi culture of Hyderabad, are still desirous experiences for many Indians.
“During these unprecedented times, it’s reassuring to see that while our plans and priorities may have changed, our passion for travel has not. Whether it’s the memories captured, relationships strengthened or smiles made, the summer of 2020 proved that the happiness travel can bring is not simply measured in kilometres, and that there are plenty of adventures to be explored and comfort to be found right next door,” said Ritu Mehrotra, Country Manager, India, Sri Lanka and Maldives at Booking.com.
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