India emerges as APAC region's most confident travellers
A research by Booking.com found that 86 per cent of Indian travellers intending to travel in the next 12 months
New research released by online travel company Booking.com shows that Indians are eager to hit the roads and the skies for a leisure trip despite some COVID-19 restrictions.
As the world starts to emerge from strict border closures, Indians are eager to make their travel dreams a reality in the next few months. About 86 per cent of Indian travellers stated that they intend to travel in the next 12 months. And despite some COVID-19 restrictions, travel optimism continues to remain high with 70 per cent of Indian travellers accepting of anticipated travel disruptions and 78 per cent considering leisure travel as important while keeping their overall health and safety in mind.
The insights have been drawn from Booking.com’s inaugural APAC Travel Confidence Index, which provides a snapshot of how confident consumers feel about exploring the world again and their motivation to travel. The commissioned research, which polled 11,000 travellers from 11 countries and territories across Asia Pacific, combined with the company’s proprietary data and insights as a digital travel leader for the past 25 years, offers insights into the region’s travel confidence.
The Travel Confidence Index explores the overall comfort levels, motivators and concerns of consumers across Asia-Pacific and how this varies across the region. Amongst the 11 APAC markets, India has emerged as the most confident, followed closely by Vietnam and China. While North Asian markets of Korea, Taiwan and Japan ranked lower on the index in terms of overall confidence, travel intent among respondents remained relatively high (above 60 per cent).
The desire to travel remains strong amongst Asia Pacific as well as Indian travellers, with ease of planning and booking travel as well as cost being the top two considerations. Both ranked consistently high across all markets, even as restrictions continue to ease around the region.
While corporate travel is beginning to make a comeback, the shift to remote working and virtual meetings has perhaps brought about a shift in the way we work. Despite many employees having returned to the office across India, only 25 per cent of Indian travellers (Average of 13 per cent in APAC) indicated that work was a reason for them to book a trip. This signifies a slower revitalisation in corporate vs leisure travel.
Unsurprisingly, uncertainty due to the constantly evolving COVID-19 situation continues to plague travellers. When asked about their top concerns and what would prevent them from booking a trip, ‘possibility of getting stuck because of frequently changing border regulations’ was listed as the top deterrent by 35 per cent of Indian travellers (APAC 37 per cent). This was followed by ‘travel cost’ and fear of having to undergo quarantine both at 33 per cent each (APAC average of 38 per cent and 37 per cent respectively).
In fact, the research findings put an increased emphasis on flexibility in travel bookings, as 89 per cent of Indian travellers would postpone or cancel a trip if they saw a rise in COVID-19 cases at their travel destination.
The impact of the kind of trips people take, thanks to COVID-19 is likely to continue in the near future as the Booking.com research reveals a preference for domestic travel, despite resumption of international travel. About 87 per cent of Indian travellers are likely to travel domestically, even when international travel restrictions are completely lifted.
In addition, Indians continue to remain welcoming to tourists and visitors, with 87 per cent of Indians polling comfortable with India reopening its borders to international travellers. Meanwhile, 84 per cent of Indian travellers stated that they are confident about their country’s preparedness to safely receive international travellers.
Out of the 11 markets polled across the APAC region, India once again topped the index in terms of intent to travel sustainably, with 93 per cent of respondents agreeing on the importance of making sustainable travel decisions followed by Vietnam (83 per cent) and China (77 per cent). The intent also translates into action as 82 per cent of Indian travellers are willing to pay more if it means they can make more sustainable travel choices and 77 per cent of Indian travellers are okay with less variety in options as long as their travel decisions are sustainable.
On the other hand, for travellers from markets such as Australia, New Zealand and Japan, cost and a wide variety of sustainable stay options are core considerations when it comes to making sustainable travel decisions.
Ritu Mehrotra, Commercial Director, APAC at Booking.com said, “It is exciting to see India emerge at the top of Booking.com’s APAC Travel Confidence Index. The findings highlight Indian travellers' love for travel and readiness to explore the world once again. And while travel optimism remains strong, it's inspiring to know that the intent to travel sustainably is also a key consideration for Indian travellers. The overall insights are a promising indication of the opportunities available for the industry to adapt and collaborate now to bolster the overall confidence of travellers, so we can truly make it easier for everyone to travel and experience the world again - now and in the years to come.”
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