While many Indians did travel in 2022, it was mired in cautiousness as Covid was still prevalent. In 2023, people might take to leisure travel much more, and the mood is going to be one of ‘overwhelming optimism’.
“People around the world are feeling overwhelmingly more optimistic about travelling in 2023 compared to 2022. Despite some current global instability, nearly 75% of Indian travellers report that travelling will always be worth it,” said Santosh Kumar, country manager for India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, and Indonesia at Booking.com.
Global network of luxury and experiential travel agency, Virtuoso, echoed the same sentiment, stating “it’s undeniable that the future is bright, with travel sales in 2023 pacing 47% higher than 2019.”
Out of lockdowns, Indians suddenly see the need to explore and that’s taking them to unusual sites as opposed to the popular tourist destinations. As many as 60% of people surveyed by Kayak said that they consider themselves ‘curious travellers’.
The usual favourites are being replaced for unique vacations and lesser-known spots, said Booking.com’s Kumar, adding that “the mood is shifting from one of hopeful uncertainty to bold adaptability.”
This trend started taking off in 2022 as Vietnam emerged as a crowd favourite, with an average monthly rise of 51% in the number of Indian tourists in the first 10 months of 2022.
According to Vipul Prakash, “Data on flight bookings indicate that there is a double-digit increase in direct flyers from India to Vietnam when compared with December 2019, and if booking patterns are to be observed – there are green signals of consistent growth in bookings for the upcoming spring season.”
In 2023, São Paulo (Brazil), Budva (Montenegro), Puducherry (India), Queretaro (Mexico), and Bolzano (Italy) could be some of the trending destinations for Indians, according to Booking.com.
Vacation rental company Airbnb also compared searches made in Q1-Q3 2022 for 2023 check-ins to Q1-Q3 2021 searches for 2022 check-ins and discovered that Málaga, Spain was the most trending travel spot for 2023.
Travelers are going green and most of them want their travel to be as climate friendly as possible. Instead of just going for greener options, they also want to ‘see’ how green their stay and travel is. According to a Virtuoso survey, 74% of their travellers are even willing to pay more for sustainable travel – but only if they know where the money is going.
Tourism New Zealand also listed a trend called ‘regenerative travel’ i.e. giving back to people and place as one of the top trends of 2023. And it’s not just a global phenomenon. Even Indians are looking for more sustainable ways to travel, with 43% of Indians citing sustainability as a main criteria for 2023 summer holidays, according to Kayak.
People, across the globe, are keen to not just make up for a lost time, but also lost experiences. From a baking trip across Paris to cheering your favourite sports team or player in the finals, travel will be about experiences that create memories.