For Indian millennials today, the itineraries aren’t etched in stone; the destinations are exotic and offbeat, the resting places are more B&Bs than luxury hotels, and often the journey is more important than the destination. The travellers are becoming more experiential and often looking to explore regions rather than simple sightseeing tours.
The travel industry has witnessed a paradigm shift over the years with more and more Indian millennials taking to experiential travel where they can sink in as much as they can the local culture, customs, food, festivities, and a lot more. The trend has become more about engaging in enriching experiences that satiate the soul. Experiential categories like cooking classes, food tours and historical experiences have skyrocketed, with year-on-year growth figures ranging between 50-125 percent. This trend of experience-driven travel is set to continue, and online travel companies are gearing up to offer unique experiences.
To keep up with this fast-pace change, the travel companies are constantly reworking their strategies, innovating new technologies to understand the trend and meet their requirements. Travel loans have become prevalent overthe years. Travellers are increasingly opting for their dream trips because loans are easily available.
A study conducted by Thrillophilia on 10,000 travellers and 1,800 travel partners, revealed that demand for activities and local experiences has grown by 178 percent over the past three years. Based on the data collected, adventure tourism and activity travel market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 17.4 percent from 2017 to 2023 in India. The experiential travel section is growing rapidly, with more and more people taking to offbeat experiences.
Several notable discoveries were made on the state of experiential and activity travel. Regarding the kind of activities people prefer in their tours, it was found that a good 42 percent favour day tours in the city with in-city activities. On the other hand, 38 percent like to go for wildlife and birding tours and 18 percent are in for adventure tours, out of which majority are into water sports.
Another interesting finding according to the study was that there has been a huge rise in the luxury activities such as yacht tours, wine tours, glamping and luxury train journeys. With the rise of several online travel platforms, the number of families looking for activities in their tour has jumped up by around 60 percent. While planning a tour, a good 46 percent of people give importance to destinations with kid-friendly activities. Corporate outings are another entrant in the travel sector. Corporate outings have gone up more than 300 percent with a potential focus on team building activities.
Also, Indian millennials are increasingly choosing offbeat travel destinations based on ‘Instagrammability’. As many as 36 percent respondents agreed to plan their travel based on how beautiful or unique the photos will look on social media platforms. While 30 percent respondents are concerned about their budget, only 11 percent think about cultural activities and sightseeing options.
Boasting the world’s second-largest population and the fastest-growing major economy, Indians are earning more disposable income to spend on travel. The growth in the Indian travel and tourism industry is also driven by a combination of rising individual income levels and changing lifestyles, development of diverse tourism offerings, and policy and regulatory support by the government authorities.
The millennials today demand more than just a regular tour package. Availability of low-cost carrier airlines, inexpensive accommodations, on-demand car rentals and improvements in transport have helped in elevating the travel experiences. With the profound range of options available and experiential travel filling the gap, this sector is set to grow more in the coming years.
Abhishek Daga is Co-founder and CMO of Thrillophilia