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A combination of lockdown fatigue and strong pent-up demand, coupled with positive sentiment due to announcements about the vaccine saw 89 percent of respondents displaying keen interest to resume travel, finds a new survey. The Second Holiday Readiness Report (December 2020) added that 11 percent are unsure or undecided.
Thomas Cook India and its Group company, SOTC Travel, surveyed over 2,700 customers across India’s Tier 1 & 2 cities in a recent survey to identify emerging consumer behaviors and trends that will drive travel preferences during the COVID era.
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Other key highlights of the finding:
Preferred travel period: 67 percent of respondents are willing to travel in the next 6 months while 33 percent indicated that they would wait for the launch of the vaccine.
Mode of Travel: 71 percent of respondents displayed confidence in air travel and this has been substantiated by the increased demand for flight-inclusive packages at both companies. While short driveable holidays were preferred post lockdown, only 29 percent of respondents now show a preference for road travel.
Domestic and International Travel — both in Demand: 52 percent of respondents stated that they are likely to take a domestic holiday. Preferred destinations in India include Goa (38 percent); Himachal Pradesh (29 percent); Ladakh & Kerala (20 percent); North East (19 percent), Kashmir & Andamans (15 percent).
Given the easing of travel restrictions, international destinations are seeing an upward demand trajectory with 48 percent of respondents likely to take an international holiday. Europe tops the leader-board at 58 percent; favored destinations include Switzerland, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, etc. This is followed by a strong interest in short-haul destinations (50 percent) such as Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Dubai, Maldives, Indonesia. Australia & New Zealand (25 percent) also feature well, followed by the Americas (19 percent).
Health & Safety continues to take top priority in travel decisions: Respondents continue to display an increasing focus on hygiene and safety – with 93 percent of respondents highlighting this as the most important factor while deciding a holiday. Noteworthy: An increase of 18 percent observed from the 75 percent reported in the First Holiday Readiness Travel Report (May 2020).
Want to read more in Hindi? Checkout: यूपी बना देश में उच्च शिक्षा का सबसे बड़ा हब
Willingness to Increase Spends basis Health & Safety: 73 percent of respondents said that they are willing to increase spends to ensure higher levels of health & safety on their holiday — a significant 38 percent increase from the First Holiday Readiness Travel Report (May 2020).
Indians display an increased appetite for holiday spends: Signalling positivity for the industry as a whole, 75 percent of respondents are willing to spend above Rs 1 lakh per person on their holidays.
Group Size: 85 percent of respondents indicated that they prefer solo-travel / as a couple / with family and friends — a 22 percent increase from the First Holiday Readiness Travel Report (May 2020). 15 percent of respondents prefer traveling as a group of 20+ travelers.
Duration of Holiday – Indians seek longer holidays: In the absence of their annual summer vacation and short breaks this year, Indians are opting for a longer duration of stay – with 74 percent of respondents preferring a holiday of 4-10 nights, followed by 16 percent preferring 10+ nights and merely 10 percent opting for a short break of up to 3 nights.
Booking Channels – Indians need a human interface for guidance/reassurance in today’s COVID-19 era: Given the prevailing uncertainty, a significant 71 percent of respondents stated that they require guidance from a holiday expert and preferred to visit an outlet/Virtual Store/video chat while planning their holidays. In comparison merely 29 percent selected the website/app as their preferred booking channel. (IANS)
By Nikhila Natarajan
In a continuing study on the effects of machine learning (ML) on public conversation, Twitter has confirmed that its algorithms amplify right-leaning political content. "In six out of seven countries - all but Germany - tweets posted by accounts from the political right receive more algorithmic amplification than the political left when studied as a group," Twitter blogged.
"Right-leaning news outlets, as defined by the independent organisations, see greater algorithmic amplification on Twitter compared to left-leaning news outlets." Since 2016, Twitter users are able to choose between viewing algorithmically ordered tweets first in their home timeline or viewing the most recent tweets in reverse chronological order.
"An algorithmic home timeline displays a stream of tweets from accounts we have chosen to follow on Twitter, as well as recommendations of other content Twitter thinks we might be interested in based on accounts we interact with frequently, tweets we engage with, and more. "As a result, what we see on our timeline is a function of how we interact with Twitter's algorithmic system, as well as how the system is designed."
The new research is based on tweets of elected officials of House of Commons members in Canada, the French National Assembly, the German Bundestag, House of Representatives in Japan, Congress of Deputies of Spain, House of Commons in the UK, and official and personal accounts of House of Representatives and Senate members in the US, as well as news outlets, from April 1 to August 15, 2020.
Tweets about political content from elected officials, regardless of party or whether the party is in power, do see algorithmic amplification when compared to political content on the reverse chronological timeline. | Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash
The study was conducted by Ferenc Huszar (Twitter, University of Cambridge), Sofia Ira Ktena (now at DeepMind Technologies), Conor O'Brien (Twitter), Luca Belli (Twitter), Andrew Schlaikjer (Twitter), and Moritz Hardt (UC Berkeley).
The questions probed were:
How much algorithmic amplification does political content from elected officials receive in Twitter's algorithmically ranked Home timeline versus in the reverse chronological timeline? Does this amplification vary across political parties or within a political party?
Are some types of political groups algorithmically amplified more than others? Are these trends consistent across countries?
Are some news outlets amplified more by algorithms than others? Does news media algorithmic amplification favour one side of the political spectrum more than the other?
Tweets about political content from elected officials, regardless of party or whether the party is in power, do see algorithmic amplification when compared to political content on the reverse chronological timeline. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: algorithmically, timeline, algorithmic, tweets, political, survey
Even as India celebrates reaching a milestone of 100 crore Covid vaccine doses, Snapdeal co-founder and COO Rohit Bansal on Friday lauded a man who facilitated 64 registrations for the vaccine on the CoWin portal. In a video shared on his Facebook and Twitter page, Bansal hailed Sonu Kumar as a "citizen celebrity".
Bansal said that Kumar not only helped "just co-workers and family but complete strangers too. With patience, empathy and uncanny jugaad". He added that Kumar joined him "many moons ago" and completed his open school from a parking lot.
"Education has helped this wonderful man enable others to get India back on track. Bravo! The CoWin portal on Thursday mentioned that a total of 100 crore vaccine doses has been administered so far to the eligible population under the vaccination drive in India, nine months after the nationwide inoculation programme was started to protect the people against Covid-19.
"It's a cause of significant celebration and happiness," Bansal said in the video. He said that while people just help a few around them, Kumar "bridged the digital gap" for 64 people, who were finding it difficult to register themselves online on the vaccine portal. Kumar said he doesn't feel that he has contributed much towards the 100 crore vaccine dose count. "I have been able to help only 64 people, if I was able to help more I would have been happier." (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: cowin, covid, india, people, Rohit bansal, Sonu kumar, vaccine
KAMPALA, UGANDA — Uganda has kickstarted a trial for the injectable HIV drugs cabotegravir and rilpivirine. Researchers and those living with HIV say the trial will likely end pill fatigue, fight stigma, improve adherence and ensure patients get the right dosage.
The two drugs have been in use as tablets. The World Health Organization last year licensed their use as injectables.
While the two injectables already went through trials in Europe and North America, this will be the first time they are tested in an African population for efficacy and safety in an African health care system.
Uganda is one of three African countries, along with Kenya and South Africa, which got approval from the WHO to carry out the trials. However, Kenya and South Africa have yet to acquire approvals to start their trials, expected by the end of the year.
Uganda and Kenya will both have three trial sites and there will be two in South Africa, with a total of 512 participants -- 202 from Uganda, 160 from Kenya and 150 from South Africa.
Dr. Ivan Mambule, the lead project researcher at the Joint Clinical Research Center, says participants will need one injection every two months.
"We are going to choose participants who are already on ART [anti-retroviral treatment] and are stable on ART. And we will randomize them to either continue on their normal treatment, which is the pill that they've been taking, or to switch them to this injectable. The injection is on the buttock," he expressed.
In this photo taken in Nov. 15, 2012 a patient, right, is attended to, at the US sponsored Themba Lethu, HIV/AIDS Clinic at the Helen Joseph hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa Image credit: VOA
Uganda has 1.4 million people living with HIV/AIDS. Barbara Kemigisa who is living with HIV and founded the Pill Power Foundation working with rural women, says the injectable drugs will increase adherence to treatment and ensure people get the right dosage.
"One of the things that affects adherence is the fact that people have to hide medicine. In the village, people are hiding medicine in the kitchen roof, in trees, in bushes, in a baby's shoe…If someone is wrapping the medicine in like five plastic bags and digs a hole in the garden and keeps the medicine there, by the time someone is taking that medicine, it's no longer medicine, it's poison," Kemigisa points out.
Nicholas Niwagaba, who has worked with young people living with HIV welcomes the trial, saying it will reduce the pill burden and fight stigma.
"Young people feel like, this is a lot of pills to take. Those who are on the first line, they will have to take one tablet a day. There are those who are on second line and they have to take more than one pill and they have to take it in the morning and in the evening. And of course, this requires you to have actually a balanced diet which is really a challenge for most of young people especially those from vulnerable communities," he says.
According to the WHO, there are 25.7 million people living with HIV in Africa. With only the pill currently available to manage the scourge, this injectable may come as a relief for people living with HIV/AIDS. (VOA/RN)
(This article is originally by Halima Athumani)
Keywords: HIV, WHO, Africa, Research, Uganda