It is not a mere conjecture that despite the periodic waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, people are eager to travel. The third Holiday Readiness Report (June 2021) published jointly by Thomas Cook India and SOTC Travel has revealed demand for travel is significantly up with 69 per cent of the respondents keen to resume travel in 2021 when restrictions ease and 31 per cent in 2022. Among the respondents, 18 per cent were ready to travel immediately post unlock while 51 per cent within 3-6 months.
Among the respondents, 54 per cent said they will visit domestic destinations and 46 per cent said they will visit international destinations. Topping the list for domestic destinations are Jammu and Kashmir (UT), Ladakh (UT), Himachal Pradesh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Goa, Kerala, etc. The popular international destinations appeared to be Dubai-Abu Dhabi, Maldives, Mauritius, Thailand, Europe, etc. The destinations were selected on the basis of announcements of unlock or easing of travel restrictions, the surveyors said.
Personal Health and Safety remains a key concern among travellers, with 70 per cent of the respondents saying so, while uncertainty was citd by 19 per cent of the respondents. More than 60 per cent people said they were willing to spend more towards Health and Safety. Some of the major areas under health and safety aspects pointed out by the respondents included re-sanitation of rooms (52 per cent), fully vaccinated hotel staff (48 per cent), drivers (34 per cent).
One of the major issues that has created friction among the service providers and their clients has been the cancellation of trips and other bookings. The survey too has revealed that 81 per cent of the respondents voted for need for refundable/zero cancellation products.
According to the survey, 77 per cent of the respondents have said they preferred an expert to guide them through the travel process (including outlet/home visit/ virtual store/video chat) among them, 27 per cent preferred to purchase holidays through retail outlets 17 per cent voted for home service 33 per cent preferred a contactless experience of a virtual store/video chat. 23 per cent opted for bookings via website/app.
Talking about the duration of their holidays, 35 per cent respondents chose holidays between 3 and 5 days 52 per cent for 6 to 12 days 13 per cent for a holiday of over 12 days. 62 per cent of the respondents said they prefer to travel with family or friends, 20 per cent said they will travel as a couple or solo while 18 per cent said they will prefer a vaccinated group.
The Third Holiday Readiness Report was prepared by Thomas Cook India and SOTC Travel after surveying over 4,000 customers across India&rsquos Tier 1 to 3 cities. The survey covered consumers of India&rsquos top eight metros, mini metros like Pune and key Tier two and three markets of Jaipur, Indore, Tiruchirappalli, Madurai, Nagpur, Surat, Baroda, Bhubaneswar, Lucknow, Chandigarh, Mysore, Coimbatore, Visakhapatnam, Guwahati, Patna, etc.