Travel is Top Priority for New Year, Say Indians

Bir, Gangtok, Leh, Manali, Mcleodganj, Mussoorie, and Rishikesh are the most preferred destinations for a getaway, says a survey by Zostel
There's been a shift towards offbeat locations because of the pandemic
There's been a shift towards offbeat locations because of the pandemic

As the world gradually gets back on its feet even sectors that were hit the hardest by the pandemic, such as travel and hospitality, have kickstarted a revival process. The crisis has transformed the way we travel. But with the year end around the corner, people have started travelling again, with adequate precautionary measures.

Against this backdrop, Zostel, a community-led, experience-driven travel ecosystem, surveyed nearly 1,730 respondents from various age groups, geographies, and backgrounds to understand their travel preferences in terms of preferred destinations, concerns, and travel durations.

Around 50% of the respondents fell under the age group of 18-25, while 37% were aged between 26-30, 10% from 31-35, and 2.5% were from the age group of 36-40. Out of this, 59% were planning to travel for the first time after the nationwide lockdown.

Ever since lockdown regulations were relaxed, there has been a shift in consumer preferences towards offbeat locations.

According to the survey, the top five destinations were colder, hilly regions such as Bir, Gangtok, Leh, Manali, Mcleodganj, Mussoorie, and Rishikesh for those planning to travel in December 2020. This was closely followed by tropical, beach-based destinations like Gokarna.

Apart from this, with more people looking to connect with nature, serene locations such as Wayanad emerged as one of the top preferences.

The survey also noted that places such as Panchgani, Wagamon, and Udaipur had a lot of takers while lesser preference was shown for cities such as Mumbai and Mysore.

This trend was seen to be consistent throughout the different age groups or travel preferences of the respondents.

While apprehensions surrounding travel continue to prevail to a certain degree, Zostel&rsquos survey observed that 50% of respondents indicated that they plan to travel for at least three to seven days.

This was closely followed by a preference for weekend getaways, where respondents said they plan to travel for two to three days.

Additionally, 12% plan to travel for seven to ten days, while a small segment of 7% of respondents indicated that they would travel for longer than 10 days.

Furthermore, 46% of respondents suggested that they prefer to travel with friends while 30% planned to travel solo.

About 14% indicated that they would travel with their partners and 9% planned to travel with family.

With the pandemic making people steer clear of crowds, Zostel noted that a majority of people, 50%, preferred to travel with one or two friends while 40% opted for traveling in a group of two to five.

6.5% of respondents said they would be willing to travel in a group of five to eight, while a mere 1% indicated that they would travel in a group comprising over ten people.

Speaking on the survey and travel preferences in the new normal, Dharamveer Singh Chouhan, Cofounder & CEO, &nbspZostel said, &ldquoThe way we travel has undergone a complete transformation as compared to the pre-pandemic times. The travel and hospitality industry is on the road to recovery and our survey shed light on the preferences of travelers in various categories. As the year draws to an end, we expect that more and more people will be open to the idea of traveling without many apprehensions although safety precautions will not be relaxed.&rdquo

Zostel&rsquos survey saw that despite a majority of respondents traveling for the first time after the outbreak, the top travel concern was the local attractions of the destination which was closely followed by safety and social distancing norms implemented. With an increasing number of people opting to escape the monotony and work remotely from different destinations, stable internet connectivity also turned out to be one of the top travel concerns.

However, for younger groups, i.e., those aged 18-30, pricing was the top concern while social distancing, safety, and internet connectivity was the key area of concern for respondents aged between 31-40.

From Zostel&rsquos survey, it is clear that places that offer the aforementioned facilities are bound to receive more footfalls

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