This is set to be the first summer since 2020 when pandemic-led travel restrictions have been lifted completely across most parts of the country. This means travel aspirations are at an all-time high this summer. Tracking consumer travel sentiment across India, travel technology company OYO has published a Mid-Summer Vacation Index 2022. As per the report, over 61% of Indian travellers plan to take vacations this summer, out of which a whopping 94% have shown a strong preference to travel domestically. This shows that despite the opening of international air travel, exploring local destinations is here to stay in 2022.
Interestingly, every 1 in 2 Indian travellers plan to head out on their first trip since the 2020 lockdown this summer. This is a strong indicator of the bounce back in travel confidence across India, mainly due to mass vaccination drives, combined with the receding pandemic severity.
Commenting on the ever-evolving consumer trends, Shreerang Godbole, SVP – Product & Chief Service Officer – OYO said, “We have already had two record-breaking festive weekend bookings in April. Over the Good Friday and Vishu week, we received 8 lakh bookings, the highest ever in 2022, surpassing New Years. Over the next couple of weeks, we expect this demand to further rise across destinations. The past few years changed the way we travel. People are much more open to taking smaller breaks, working from a scenic location or even making their travel bookings at the very last minute. Alongside these trends, consumers are now looking for higher personalisation and flexibility – when it comes to digital payments, easy booking modifications or support to resolve queries. Adding to this trend, we strongly believe that domestic destinations will benefit the most from this bounce back, especially the smaller unexplored ones.”
With about 65% votes, a majority of travellers are keen on leisure trips, for a much-needed break from the routine. In December 2021, as travel opened domestically, most respondents had preferred travelling mostly to meet their family and friends after a long time due to the pandemic. While there are certain trend shifts, short trips continue to be the top choice among travellers. Nearly 55% of respondents still prefer shorter trips of about 1-3 days. As per OYO’s survey, over 50% Indians opted to travel with friends, while 26.5% said they would love to spend their vacation with family. 13% of respondents also wished to go solo this summer.
As per OYO’s consumer survey, with 25% of the votes, hill stations emerged as the clear winner. However, that’s not it. Nearly 22% said they would love the best of both worlds – with a mix of hill stations and beaches. This was followed by preferences for seaside towns, staycations, adventure sports destinations and riverside stays, among others. When it comes to the hills, over one-third of Indians opted for Manali as their cooling destination of choice, followed by about 20% who wish to visit Kashmir this summer. Sikkim, Ooty and McLeodganj were also popular choices among vacationers. Among beach lovers, 58% said that Goa was hands-down their dream beach destination in India. This was closely followed by the Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Kerala with 12% and 11% respectively.
Among destinations popular for their rivers and waterfalls, a large proportion of respondents (38%) expressed interest in visiting Kullu this summer, followed by Rishikesh. Alleppey and Jim Corbett were also in the running as India’s top waterfront destinations. Almost 30% Indians would love to enjoy sunset views while at a beach in Goa. A close second, 21% said there is no better way to admire the sunset other than a shikara ride on Dal Lake in Srinagar. This was followed by the sunset at the Taj Mahal.
With 35% each, respondents were split between the houseboats in Kashmir or ruins of Hampi as their favorite picnic spot. The rest would like to visit any soulful Indian village or countryside for a quick picnic.
With more than 33% of the respondents opting for this beach destination, Maldives is once again India’s international dream destination, followed by Dubai, Thailand and the USA. However, OYO’s consumer survey still shows that Indians are keen on domestic alternatives over international destinations. The survey found that 58% of consumers prefer taking vacations in Gulmarg over Switzerland, 70.3% in Coorg over Scotland and 67.9% choose Auli over Alaska.