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What is interesting is that travelers want options for both domestic and international travel in just about an equal number of preferences expressed in the survey.

The Covid-19 related travel curbs in different parts of the country have had a lasting impact on the track and tourism industry.
With mobility restricted, fewer Indians were traveling for non-essential work for the most part of the last year. Now with the second wave of the pandemic subsiding and people are coming out, the most pertinent question in the travel industry is whether finally, leisure travel will pick up the pace? What will be the trend in the post-Covid world?

A survey by Thomas Cook India and SOTC Travel as part of their Third Holiday Readiness Report has found that people's interest in travel has increased tremendously during the month with several expressing desire to start travel immediately to get over the period of relative immobility brought about by the pandemic. A significant 69 percent of the respondents in the survey indicated keen interest to travel in 2021 post ease in restrictions -- with 18 percent ready to travel immediately post unlock and 51 percent within the next 3-6 months.


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1What has changed from the pre-Covid period to now is that people are increasingly preferring travel choices that provide hygienic staying options coupled with the best safety protocols. In the survey, 70 percent of respondents ranked health & safety as the key consideration while re-sanitation of rooms was selected by 52 percent of respondents as a key requirement.

Travel With the uncertainty created by the virus, people want flexible products where cancellations would be allowed as a rule. Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

The majority of about 66 percent of the respondents showed a willingness to increase spends to ensure higher levels of health and safety on their holiday. Another interesting trend brought out by the survey is that a whopping 81 percent of respondents reiterated their need for refundable or zero cancellation products. With the uncertainty created by the virus, people want flexible products where cancellations would be allowed as a rule.

Thomas Cook India and SOTC Travel surveyed over 4,000 customers across India's Tier 1-3 cities to identify emerging consumer behaviors and trends that will drive travel preferences in the Covid era. The survey covered consumers of India's top eight metros, mini-metros like Pune, and key Tier 2/3 markets such as Jaipur, Indore, Tiruchirappalli, Madurai, Nagpur, Surat, Baroda, Bhubaneswar, Lucknow, Chandigarh, Mysore, Coimbatore, Visakhapatnam, Guwahati, Patna, etc.

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What is interesting is that travelers want options for both domestic and international travel in just about an equal number of preferences expressed in the survey. Among the domestic destinations, Kashmir, Leh-Ladakh, Himachal, Andamans, Goa, and Kerala have caught the fancy of the travelers, while Dubai-Abu Dhabi, Maldives, Mauritius, Thailand, Europe, etc. remain hot travel destinations globally.

Also, 35 percent of respondents chose holidays between 3 and 5 days; 52 percent for 6-12 days; and 13 percent for over 12 days.
About 62 percent of respondents prefer to travel with family/friends; 20 percent as couple/solo; and 18 percent in a vaccinated group. Even with the pandemic still lurking, 77 percent of respondents continued to express a strong preference for interaction with an expert for guidance/reassurance, 27 percent opting to purchase holidays through retail outlets; 17 percent for home service; 33 percent preferred a contactless experience of a virtual store/video chat, and 23 percent opted for bookings via website/app. (IANS/JC)


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