As the winter season takes hold, Indians are charting a new course for their holiday travels, leaning heavily towards domestic destinations over international jaunts. A notable surge has been witnessed in both metro and non-metro cities, marking a shift in travel preferences this year.
According to Aloke Bajpai, Co-founder & Group CEO of ixigo, popular hotspots for Christmas and New Year holidays include Goa, Jaipur, Pondicherry, Pune, and Coorg. The trend indicates a preference for beachside getaways over urban adventures, with beach destinations topping the list.
The spotlight isn’t confined to domestic locales alone, said the trend report. Recent changes in visa policies have also sparked a remarkable interest among Indian travellers in international destinations offering visa-free entry. Searches for December travel to Malaysia and Thailand have skyrocketed, boasting an impressive over 100 per cent Month-over-Month increase, following the implementation of a 30-day visa-free stay for Indians.
Recently, Malaysia joined the ranks of Sri Lanka and Thailand by introducing visa-free travel for Indians, permitting a maximum stay of 30 days starting December 1. Sri Lanka had previously implemented this policy, set to remain in effect until March 31, 2023 while Thailand’s parallel initiative extended until May 10.
Presently, the Indian passport grants visa-free travel access to 26 countries, offers visa-on-arrival privileges in 49 nations, and necessitates a visa for travel to 123 countries.
The report by ixigo also revealed that for international travel, Dubai, Bangkok, New York, Colombo, Bali, and Male remain the top picks among Indian travellers. Meanwhile, the most sought-after domestic destinations, based on bookings, include Goa, Jaipur, Chennai, New Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, and Pondicherry.
Echoing this surge, Confirmtkt has also observed a 13 per cent rise in search queries compared to the previous year. Pune, Goa, Delhi, Jammu Tawi, and Thiruvananthapuram have emerged as key destinations witnessing a surge in both bookings and search queries.Moreover, specific travel routes are gaining traction, exemplified by increased interest in journeys like Mumbai to Pune, Thiruvananthapuram to Ernakulam, Delhi to Jammu Tawi, Hyderabad to Visakhapatnam, and Mumbai to Goa. Anticipating further growth, Confirmtkt forecasts an 11 per cent increase in bookings and searches until the year’s end compared to figures from September and October.
This shift in travel preferences, influenced by visa policies and a renewed focus on domestic beauty, signals a winter holiday season characterised by a different travel landscape for Indian explorers.