Expected Travel Trends In 2020

By Vishal Suri, Managing Director, SOTC TravelAn Electrical Engineering graduate, Vishal has over 25 years of experience working across consumer-centric verticals such as Office Automation, Telecom and Internet, and has even worked with multinational travel companies such as Kuoni and Thomas Cook.

The travel industry is changing at a fast pace. The interest for exploring new places, the rise in purchasing power, availability of direct and low fare international flights are the key drivers for the growth of the Indian travel segment. With so many avenues for the ardent travellers to explore and embark on; 2020 looks a promising year for the travel industry with the following trends emerging:

Cruise Travel: As travel has evolved beyond the mainstream and conventional, holidaymakers from different parts of India are increasingly opting for cruise travel. Diverse travellers are expressing an interest for this form of experiential travel via waterways.

Cruise liners are recognising this demand and are not only offering multi-destination routes, but also an array of facilities and amenities like entertainment, authentic cuisines, leisure and adventure activities and several others, all at affordable costs.

Mini Moon: Honeymoon for years has been a popular travel concept for newly married couples. However, in the recent past, with lifestyles getting busier and more hectic, there is a challenge to make time for a long holiday with their better half. Due to this, ‘mini moon’ travel is becoming very popular, with these newly married couples getting the opportunity to unwind via a short getaway at a nearby destination right after their big day, followed by a long haul holiday later in the future.

Spiritual Travel: As one of the biggest trends, spiritual travel has not only piqued the interest of older generations, but also millennials who wish to seek spirituality and have an interest in travelling to domestic and international destinations. India in particular is witnessing a number of local and international travellers, being at the fulcrum of religious facets and spirituality. This is expected to form a major travel market of the country, in lieu of more denizens keento visit popular religious and ‘pilgrim’ destinations.

Adventure Travel/Tourism: Travellers
across India, especially new-age millennials have become more experimental and bold with respect to their holiday preferences. A number of these thrill-seekers are opting for vacations filled with adventure, to experience that adrenaline rush. Due to this, ‘adventure tourism’ has gained colossal popularity and is expected to generate further interest in 2020.

Indian travellers are increasingly moving away from the traditional norms of long journeys in favour of short haul holidays, taken multiple times a year

Technology in Travel: Technology and its many innovations have penetrated deep into the country’s landscape, influencing the travel industry in new ways. Through smartphones and social media, Indian travelers are exposed to a vast bank of information, which they use to determine their journey plans. New age technological advancements and tools are changing the way people travel and industry players operate. These include AI (Artificial Intelligence), voice-based applications, big data analytics, VR (Virtual Reality) and AR (Augmented Reality). With the help of these advancements, new segments of tourism have been introduced in the country – Virtual Tourism. Digitisation will only grow more in the future; and Indian travellers, especially those belonging to Gen Y and Gen Z will adapt to it enthusiastically.

Micro Trips: Indian travellers are increasingly moving away from the traditional norms of long journeys in favour of short haul holidays, taken multiple times a year. These holidays lasting shorter duration, also known as micro trips have significantly changed the way Indians are travelling today. There are a host of factors responsible for this shift in behaviour - increasing connectivity in flights, on-arrival visa facilities, on-demand car rentals, budget accommodation, increasing levels of disposable income and an increasing appetite for viewing the world. In the coming year, more locales – both international and domestic will become known for being preferred in the sphere of bite-sized travel.

Personalisation & Customisation: Travellers no longer care only about sightseeing; they wish to explore everything that spikes their interest levels. The traditional rigid itineraries made by travel companies are no longer acceptable for these travellers. With the rising internet penetration in the country, they are exposed to and are proactively looking for unique and novel experiences that they wish to explore. Sightseeing is no longer the primary aim of the holiday, as these travellers wish to immerse themselves in the local culture, soaking in the atmosphere, cuisine and other elements that are unique to that region. Because of this, personalisation and customisation of travel plans has become extremely crucial as it helps these tourists make instant decisions about the holiday on-the-go, and include a variety of activities as and when they wish it. This is a trend that will power through 2020 with user preferences giving rise to more memorable experiences.

Bleisure Holidays: Bleisure travel or bizcation is negates the common saying ‘Never mix work with pleasure’. These holidays combine both travel for work and leisure activities and are becoming increasingly popular. This type of travel has been largely favoured by Millennials who believe in making the most of every trip, refusing to restrict their activities to just one thing. Today, there is a greater emphasis on viewing the world and Indian travellers are not afraid to take any chance to achieve their goals. With these newer generations of travellers journeying off on work-related trips, they are enterprising in their approach to make the most of their journey and create exceptional memories.