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How Indians will travel in 2021

January 04, 2021 12:39 IST

The future of travel is increasingly shifting to focus on experiences that positively impact one's overall wellness.
Renu Basu, senior vice president-global sales and marketing, the Taj group of hotels, reveals the safest and most favourable travel trends for 2021.

Kindly note the image has been posted only for representational purposes. Photograph: Kind courtesy Shilpa Shetty/Instagram here

2020 altered the tourism and hospitality landscape forever.

Health, hygiene and social distancing have been shaping travel, with reports indicating that over 90 per cent people view health and safety as a key consideration; with over 80 per cent travelers gravitating towards reputed brands for their travel plans.

With around 90 per cent people keen to resume travel, more and more travellers have been exploring the myriad beauty of India, leading to a rise in domestic travel.

Renu Basu, senior vice president-global sales and marketing, Indian Hotels Company Limited, reveals some of the key trends we'll continue to see in 2021:

1. Drivecations

Over 80 per cent people indicated interest in traveling with family and loved ones, resulting in the growth of driving holidays as people were keen to travel to destinations within close vicinity of their homes, leading to the discovery of offbeat locations.

Some travellers were even comfortable driving slightly longer distances to ensure that they could maintain a comfortable level of social distancing.

Destinations such as Goa, Rajasthan, Kerala, Uttarakhand and Karnataka, all driving distance from key cities, saw a rise in leisure travel in recent months. 

2. Staycations

Confined to the safety of their homes, people have been seeking creative yet safe ways to spend quality time with their close friends and family.

Staycations have become increasingly popular at city hotels across Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi and Kolkata among others.

Combined with minimal required travel, low on holiday planning time, cost and carbon footprint, staycations are perfect for travelers of all generations. 

3. Workations

With the lines between work and play blurring in the past months, there has been a rising urge to escape the four walls of home and maximise work from rejuvenating environs like a beach, palace, mountains or by the pool.

People are booking longer stays at hotels to balance time with family and inspire a burst of professional creativity.

4. Homestays

The premium homestay market in India is witnessing a steady growth as travelers are looking for more exclusive, unique, and immersive experiences.

Moreover, reports indicate that over 70 per cent people prefer longer holidays ranging from a week to 10 days.

Homestays give travelers an opportunity to bond together in beautiful private bungalows and villas at unique locations, while experiencing authentic local culture and heritage. 

5. Wellness travel

The past few months have compelled us all to slow down and focus on our health and well being.

The future of travel is increasingly shifting to focus on experiences that positively impact one’s overall wellness.

There has been a rising trend of travellers embarking on wellness retreats that allow them to reconnect with nature, indulge in curated wellness menus and rejuvenate their body and mind.

6. Intimate weddings

Milestone celebrations including weddings are seeing an increase.

While the number of weddings in 2020 have not seen a decline, their scale has definitely reduced with the new norms around physical distancing. Moreover, destination weddings have moved closer home with restrictions on international travel.

Big fat Indian weddings have now become a more intimate affair, with couples wanting to spend their life's most special moments in exotic and awe-inspiring settings with far more personalisation and attention to detail.

Be it mountain destinations such as Corbett and Theog, or dreamy settings by the beach or the breathtaking palaces in Rajasthan as the backdrop, weddings have today become intimate celebrations with loved ones.

7. Open air banqueting, food and beverages

Be it a romantic meal for two, an intimate private gathering or a grand celebration, guests are choosing to have their special moments come alive under the magic of the open sky with nature as the stage.

They are preferring to dine in open air venues. So al-fresco dining is becoming very popular.

There is also a new trend of guests choosing to host their social events in open air venues. 

8. Changing demographics

This pandemic has thrown up another interesting trend.

The demographics is changing. Many more young people are now travelling. They also take multiple trips instead of just one holiday.

Another interesting trend is that after the initial trepidation, guests are now using air travel.

They are getting away to exclusive beach resorts to accessible destinations through short haul flights.

Mountain and beach resorts continue to occupy the mindspace of customers to enjoy peace, tranquility and space. There has been a surge in demand to the Maldives from India as well.

RENU BASU