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Three Travel Trends Shaping India’s Outbound Travel Market

Poonam Makhija
March 21, 2021

Some old trends, such as solo travel, are gaining popularity again in India. But the market is also seeing new travel preferences emerge like chartered flights and private cruising indicating a shift toward luxury in the near-term. These three pandemic travel trends are providing added comforts and assurance along the journey.

  1. Short-Haul Travel – Short-haul destinations are gaining preference making weekend holidays a popular choice. With shorter itineraries, Indian travelers are focusing their time on immersive experiences. 2021 will see a spike in travelers seeking local food, architecture, artisanal handicrafts, and culture, to spice up their holidays.

  2. Air Travel Upgrades – We expect two defining air travel trends in 2021. One is “lifestyle travel” with preference toward Business Class and Premium Economy. This allows passengers to have more personal space and access to a limited-capacity common area. The second is shared chartered flights allowing family and friends with deep pockets to fly private. 

  3. Private Cruising – Luxury, small-vessel cruising is an emerging trend for the refined Indian traveler. With a limited number of guests, it offers private excursions far from crowded places.

What To Expect Next From Outbound Indian Travelers

Destinations like the Maldives and Dubai are benefiting from India’s surge of short-haul travelers. We expect Indian holidaymakers to continue flocking to these nearby destinations with non-stop flights and easy visa procedures. Air access, easing of travel restrictions and widespread vaccination are critical components to reopening global travel. Places like Bali, Thailand, Mauritius, Saudi Arabia and Singapore will be popular choices as international travel reopens.

What This Means For Long-Haul Destinations

Traveler confidence is growing in India. Destinations wanting to get a foothold in the market should start making themselves visible with the Indian travel trade now. A recent ‘Consumer Sentiment Index (Travel) 2.0’ report from InterMiles revealed that almost 65% of Indians intend to travel for leisure and explore new destinations in 2021. The report details that “the new and evolved 2021 Indian traveler is looking for adventure and is keen on exploring new destinations, in an attempt to leave behind the monotony of 2020.”

With so much pent-up travel demand, a desire for adventure and reconnecting with family and friends abroad, the U.S. and Europe are likely to regain popularity soon. Indian travelers have always had an affinity for holidays in Western countries. So as mass vaccination programs progress, expectations for the second half of 2021 are looking up.