After two years of Covid-19 linked health concerns, the urge to travel and explore either alone or visit family and friends is reviving sharply.
A survey by Community platform LocalCircles conducted in August seeking to understand the travel plans during the months of September and October, found that 45 per cent of over 22,000 respondents have travel plans during the festive season. So far 21 per cent respondents have booked the tickets and reserved the accommodation, an indication of confirmed travel plans, while another 3 per cent have plans to utilise prior booked but deferred travel tickets and accommodation, while 21 per cent respondents have plans to travel in the next two months but are still to make bookings. Another 13 per cent are still undecided while 42 per cent have no travel plans.
If compared to the outcome of a survey conducted in August 2021, the new survey indicates considerable improvement in consumer sentiments as the percentage of those not inclined to take a holiday to travel has dipped from 63 per cent to 42 per cent, while those having bought tickets and confirmed stay plans has risen from mere 5 per cent in the corresponding month last year to 21 per cent in August 2022.
Another category where there is a noticeable difference is the rise in percentage of those undecided. This could well be due to families feeling the pinch due to rising cost of living, education, healthcare and even travel, which has made a considerable dent in the savings and leisure budget of thousands of families.
In keeping with normal Indians’ preferences of combining family visits with holidays, of those traveling the survey revealed that 28 per cent respondents have plans to visit just family and friends in September-October, 11 per cent were planning just a destination holiday while 21 per cent were planning a trip for other reasons.
There is a sizable 10 per cent respondents who are planning to combine family/friends visits with miscellaneous travel which could include religious trips, attending events or getting pending works done. Another 10 per cent is planning holiday travel combined with miscellaneous travel and 7 per cent respondents are planning to do all three, i.e., family and friends visit, miscellaneous travel and visiting a holiday destination, said the survey.
In summary, the leisure travel sentiments have finally picked up with 45 per cent of respondents having either firmed up bookings or in the process of doing so. Of those planning a trip in September-October, 48 per cent are planning a trip to visit family and friends and combining it with miscellaneous travel, while 31 per cent are looking forward to a destination holiday. The catch for those still planning to do their travel bookings is the affordability.
The government decision to remove the cap on air fares is likely to work to the advantage of those yet to make the booking or are undecided as airlines may offer more competitive fares as compared to what they did in August.