While the events of the year have led to seismic shifts in travel behaviors and destination choices, travel has still found a way to satisfy many travellers’ wanderlust.
Travel may not be the same during these unprecedented times, but data from Booking.com, one of the world’s leading digital travel players reveals that the happiness travel can bring isn’t measured in kilometres. Travel plans may have changed drastically in 2020, and travellers may not be able to take that distant trip they had previously hoped for, but this has given travellers the opportunity to discover - and in many instances rediscover - heaps of wonderful experiences closer to home.
Delving into the travel patterns of Indians in the last few months, Booking.com calculated that the average distance Indians travelled between June and August 2020 is down 56% compared with the same time last year, which is slightly lower than the global average of 63% (1). When looking back at the same time last year, Indian travellers journeyed on average 1,786 km per booking. In 2020, that distance has dropped to just 780 km per booking (1).
Happiness isn't measured in kilometres
More than half (67%) of the total distance travelled by Indians between 1 June and 31 August 2020 was within the country, compared to only 34% during the same period of 2019(2). New Delhi, Bengaluru, Gurgaon, Mumbai and Hyderabad featured as the top most booked destinations between June - August 2020 by Indian travellers (3).
Accommodations rediscovered - From Motels to Homestays
When it comes to accommodation choice, Indian travellers were more likely to have opted for a motel than they were last year, followed by villa, hotel, lodge and homestay (4) which all topped the rankings of trending accommodation types for Indian travellers. This rise in pitching tents shows the shift in travel types we’ve seen. When looking back at the end of 2019, before we knew that our 2020 travel plans would be clouded by a global pandemic, only 28% of Indians were intending to stay at a villa, 16% in motels and 63% were anticipating staying in traditional hotels (5).
The unexpected route to our travel plans
While the events of the year have led to seismic shifts in travel behaviors and destination choices, travel has still found a way to satisfy many travellers’ wanderlust. At the end of 2019, 51% of Indians were dreaming of beautiful beaches and 42% of bustling city trips (5). 40% even dreamt of traveling to visit family and friends before they knew their contact with them would have been limited this year (5).
Many of those travel desires would typically have been met with far flung destinations, but this year many have discovered these simple pleasures next door. So, whether it is exploring the pink city of Jaipur or soaking in the Nawabi culture of Hyderabad, the travel desires of many Indians have still been explored in 2020, just a little closer to home.
Ritu Mehrotra, country manager, India, Sri Lanka and Maldives at Booking.com, said: “During these unprecedented times it's reassuring to see that while our plans and priorities may have changed, our passion for travel has not. Whether it’s the memories captured, relationships strengthened or smiles made, the summer of 2020 proved that the happiness travel can bring is not simply measured in kilometres and that there are plenty of adventures to be explored and comfort to be found right next door. With our mission to make it easier for everyone to experience the world, we offer the widest choice, great value and the easiest experience so travellers can get out and enjoy all kinds of travel experiences, whenever it’s safe to do so and whether that’s near or far.”