Indian tourism to bounce back faster than expected; govt support critical for survival & revival: FICCI-Thrillophilia Consumer Travel survey

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Ms Rupinder Brar, Additional Director General, Ministry of Tourism, Govt of India, said that the silver lining in the pandemic induced lockdowns is the fact that even though the industry got severely impacted, but in a sense it also gave time to the industry to step back, slow down, and time to introspect the consumer’s needs and demands and people are looking at travelling more than double in the next year.

Speaking at the report launch of the Consumer Travel survey conducted by FICCI and Thrillophilia, Ms Brar said that delving into the customer’s demands becomes an imperative need of what is it that the customer is looking for. Citing the FICCI- Thrillophilia report findings, Ms Brar said that the report brings to the fore some interesting figures.

“not be saying so if they did not have the faith in all the systems that are being created- by government initiatives, civil societies or whether through private enterprises. All sectors must get together to deal with the pandemic,” she said.

Further, Ms Brar believed that the Consumer Travel Survey report would send a cheer in the market. The report will give a sense of confidence among consumers, she said.

Commending FICCI for its efforts in reviving the travel and tourism sector, Ms Brar said that she was glad that FICCI has gone ahead and taken on the initiative of picking out what is really going to fuel demand in times to come. “The initiative that FICCI took to reach out to more than 5000+ people is a fantastic sample size,/l she said.

Ms Brar also pointed out that all of us who travel must respect all protocols because even though the COVID numbers have been showing a downward trend, it does not allow us to be complacent.

She also said that with international travels not allowed at present, it offers a great opportunity to bring forth the lesser known Indian itineraries and the splendour that India has to offer.

The travel survey conducted by FICCI and Thrillophilia aimed towards understanding the post-COVID preferences of Indian travellers revealed that 73 per cent of travellers are eager to take a weekend break or go for a workation amidst nature for their first post-pandemic trip.

Elucidating on the survey, Mr Dilip Chenoy, Secretary-General of FICCI said that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the travel, tourism and hospitality industry has changed the way travel and hospitality businesses must function and manage their operations. “We are looking at a tectonic shift in consumer behaviour pattern and the way of travelling. The future of travel, tourism and hospitality industry will be completely different with a new set of rules laying more emphasis on social distancing, safety, health and hygiene,” he said.

“Through this survey, we have tried to look at things from the demand-side  which also may be useful to the policymakers, industry, stakeholders to reimagine and remodel themselves to meet these expectations and try and actually survive, thrive and revive,” added Mr Chenoy.

Adding further, Mr Chenoy said that everybody must pivot their business and innovate to the needs of the customer and this (the report) is our little effort in enabling that to happen.

Mr Ashish Kumar, Co-Chair FICCI Travel and Technology Committee and Though Leader said that consumer study and the tenets of consumer behaviour has been the core of any travel and tourism study. “Tenets of consumer behaviour have been magnified post-COVID. Customers footprints are the data points that need to be mapped digitally in a tech-driven environment as much as possible. The consumer is looking more for a transactional experience,” he said.

Ms Chitra Gurnani Daga, Co-Founder & CEO, Thrillophilia said that as travel restrictions are being eased up across the country, travellers are now resuming their travel plans in the new normal. Various resorts, monuments and tourist attractions have also reopened for travellers with strict adherence to safety measures and guidelines

Speaking of the report, Ms Daga said the survey was conducted in October 2020 to understand the post lockdown preferences of travellers. This included preferred accommodations, mode of travel, time for the first post-pandemic trip among others. “The survey was responded to and completed by 5000 participants from metros and Tier-2 and 3 cities,” she added.

Speaking about the report and the association with FICCI, Mr Abhishek Daga, the co-founder of Thrillophilia said, “Thrillophilia has been looking for ways to help the travel industry recover from the adversities of this pandemic. Our partnership with FICCI in conducting this survey has brought to the fore some compelling results that can help travel industry stakeholders redesign their services in line with inclinations of the travellers.”

Highlights of FICCI- Thrillophilia Consumer Travel Survey:

  1. ‘Need a weekend break’ cited to be the most popular reason for people to take the first trip post the pandemic.

2. More than 50% plan to travel in the next 2 months and 33% said in 2021, they would travel twice of what they did in 2020.

3. 75% said they will travel in their own closed group of friends or family.

4. 65% of respondents said they are comfortable travelling outside their states in flights or personal vehicles.

5. 40% of people are open to taking regular experiences and visiting monuments, parks and waterfalls.

6. 65% of respondents chose places away from crowds into the mountains, on the beaches, amidst nature, deep into jungles and smaller villages or towns.

7. Most respondents expressed little concern in travelling in flights and at airports.

8. Private and luxury accommodations are being preferred over shared ones.

9. 60% respondents said they were not really stressed about their safety while shopping or visiting monuments and parks.

10. 62% respondents expect the government to provide clear information, rules and updates via a dedicated travel app.

11. 43% of respondents are ok to start travelling as soon as cases fall below 50k mark.

12. Mountains are the most preferred destinations followed by beach & Jungle

13. 10% of the respondents are willing to have an Ayurveda & Wellness experience

14. 22% willing to take regular local experiences

15. 21% willing to take adventure and rural activities away from crowd