Indians remain second most confident travellers in APAC despite economic challenges: Booking.com
Booking.com has released the 2023 edition of its APAC Travel Confidence Index (TCI). The report offers insights into the mindsets of APAC travellers and the profound impact of economic and global uncertainties on their travel decisions. Of the 11 APAC markets surveyed, India emerges as the country with the second most confident travellers, closely behind Hong Kong. China comes in third followed by Singapore and Taiwan.
Despite complex global challenges, including inflation, geopolitical instability, climate change and supply chain disruptions, this year’s research uncovers a striking paradox: a remarkable 86% of Indian travellers are brimming with optimism about their future travel plans, while 61% have no intention of postponing their travel plans in the next 12 months. Even more striking, over half (59%) of these travellers intend to maintain, if not increase, the number of trips they take and 68% intend to increase their travel expenditure budget for the year ahead.
• Despite economic challenges 86% of Indian travellers are optimistic about their future travel plans, while 61% have no intention of postponing their travel plans in the next 12 months.
• Indian travellers have a stronger inclination to explore their own country (43%), believe in the power of travel for personal growth (40%) and have the desire to foster meaningful connections on their travels (33%)
• 3 in 5 would prefer to travel during the long weekend holidays with a majority wanting to travel to North or South India
• When it comes to travel experiences, Indian travellers like to seek out nature and scenic locations, followed by beaches and food
• More than half of the Indian travellers (57%) prepare detailed itineraries in advance along with pre-bookings for trip accommodations, activities and dining and 60% consider it crucial to have access to Indian food
When it comes to travel, Indians exhibit a distinct behaviour that stands out, particularly in their approach to planning itineraries and their emphasis on food. More than half (57%) prefer a planned itinerary and make pre-bookings for trip accommodations, activities and dining. This indicates a desire for a structured travel experience and the assurance of securing desired services in advance. While they are open to exploring different cuisines, a substantial number (60%) consider it crucial to have access to Indian food when deciding on travel plans.
Indian travellers have a stronger inclination to explore their own country (43%) and foster meaningful connections on their travels (33%). When it comes to destinations they would like to explore domestically, a majority of the respondents (71%) want to travel to North India, 60% lean towards destinations in South India, 41% West India, 37% North East India, 16% East India and 13% opted for Central India.
Travel is one of the most apparent desires of people across the APAC region, providing an escape from the daily routine. For 3 in 5 APAC travellers, their top motivation to travel is the pursuit of relaxation, rejuvenation and an escape from the chaos of everyday life. However, when it comes to Indian travellers besides the desire for a relaxing vacation (57%), other travel motivators include the desire to learn about their travel destinations (34%) and to immerse in the local culture (26%).
Top Travel Concerns
While there is a strong desire to travel, there are some travel concerns that are also facing travellers in India and across APAC.
• 39% of Indian travellers consider taking time away from work as one of the main challenges when planning a trip (Hong Kong 37%, Singapore 35%)
• 34% have financial concerns when choosing to embark on their travel (Thailand 57%, New Zealand 55%)
• 32% of Indian travellers wishing to travel outside the country are concerned about the complicated, expensive and time-consuming visa processes (Singapore 26%, Vietnam 25%)
• Additionally, environmental issues emerge as another significant concern, reflecting the growing awareness and consciousness towards sustainable travel practices among travellers in the region.
To save on travel costs 39% stated that they are inclined to plan their trips around travel discounts and deals, 38% would travel during off-peak season and 36% would take advantage of staying with friends or family to save on travel costs.
Top Places and Activities of Interest while Travelling
When it comes to travel experiences, Indian travellers show a significant inclination towards nature and scenic locations (67%), indicating a desire to immerse themselves in the beauty of natural landscapes followed by beaches (63%) and food and dining (57%), that also holds a strong appeal. Other activities of interest include tourist attractions and landmarks (56%), local culture and lifestyle (55%) and shopping (52%). As compared to Indians, when it comes to APAC travellers like to seek out food followed by nature, tourist attractions and beaches.
“The survey clearly demonstrated that despite the ongoing global and economic hurdles, there is a prevailing sense of positivity and enthusiasm among travellers. A significant 84% of respondents are actively planning their next trip within the upcoming 12 months,” said Santosh Kumar, Country Manager for India, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Indonesia at Booking.com. “Along with the high travel confidence that places India among the top three countries, Indian travellers are also most keen to prioritise sustainable travel. Our Travel Confidence Index 2023 shows that despite certain macroeconomic headwinds and fewer COVID-19 restrictions, APAC travellers’ spirit of adventure and desire to make lifelong travel memories remain unwavering and robust. We are confident that the travel sector will continue to thrive in the years to come with this zest and enthusiasm for travelling among people.”