Tourism has recently experienced an exponential rise in India, especially among the millennials. From planning exhilarating trips to far off lands of majestic natural beauty, to signing up for goosebump-inducing adventure sports, the young and aspirational Indian traveller no longer shies away from venturing into the unexplored and unknown. The change has been even more dramatic in India, in particular, in comparison to the likes of Europe and Australia, with young Indians wanting to try something new and unique each time.
In today’s age, the priorities of the Indian millennial are the entertainment, the experience, and then the destination. While earlier, people used to primarily be concerned about things like the price point, the quality of accommodation, the size of the bedroom, and other such details, today, it is the entertainment that ranks higher on their priority list. We define entertainment by a number of factors like food and beverage, clubs and DJs, the music, and facilities such as spas, kid-friendly setting, and the like, which is a prime focus of our offerings, to offer our guests the best possible experiences. Being the highly competitive domain that tourism and hospitality is today, resorts and hotels are faced by the need to constantly add more features for enjoyment to their repertoire.
Having seen beautifully exotic destinations like the Greek Islands in movies and on television, Greece has become one of the favourite destinations for the young Indian crowd, owing to its fantastic cuisines, stunningly picturesque locales, beautiful climate, and the improved accessibility because of airlines like Emirates and Qatar.
Cambodia and Vietnam, to name a few more, have also become hotspots for young Indian travellers, because of their fantastic cultural centres, local food, and the like. To sum it up, the reality clearly outlines the exponential growth in outbound tourism from India, with the Indian millennial venturing farther and farther into the rest of the world to get their fill of nature and adventure. Scotland is another potential popular destination that we are looking at focusing on, as we have found that Indians are extremely keen to explore Scotland and its majestic history and culture, while in recent years, Bali has also become a top favourite, being akin to a luxurious, international version of Goa.
Changing trends in Indian travellers
Bleisure, an amalgamation of business and leisure, is another trend that has emerged in recent years. However, I feel that it is gaining traction now because of the increased affordability, countless choices in airlines, and bigger budgets of companies. It is a very effective way of combining business with a bit of pleasure, by adding a day or two to the end of the trip to go sightseeing or experience the local cuisines. It is usually planned out well in advance, and the itinerary is carefully constructed prior to the trip. Foreign trips are more common and frequent for young Indian travellers, compared to 25 years ago, owing largely to relaxed currency exchange systems, vast number of budget airlines, increase in spending capabilities, and also, the changing mind sets of young Indians of today. They are eager to explore the entire world and experiment with a variety of exotic dishes, cultures, and practices, without sticking to the familiar. Additionally, the boom in the Indian travel industry took place slightly later than the rest of the world, as a result of which, the market is still largely undiscovered and unexplored for most.
Priorities of travelling
Membership clubs, when it comes to travelling, have also garnered a lot of popularity in recent years, owing to the increase in ease of travel, along with the means and affordability of it. In recent times, I have seen a rise in the number of Indian travellers, especially in the age group of 25 to 35, buying memberships in travel clubs. However, the important factor, once again, is what is on offer.
A major shift in travel trends among millennials is that while price is definitely a deciding factor, it is no longer just the only concern, as they have the ability to afford what they want, and they are extremely conscious of it. It’s not just about a huge bedroom or a luxurious hotel room, but also about the exciting campfire, open air beach party, and other entertainment options that really clinch the deal. As such, in today’s date, travel for the young and aspirational Indian traveller, is no longer just about individual factors like the budget, resort, or destination, but the entire package, consisting of exhilarating entertainment, picture-perfect locales, and an abundance of entertainment facilities.
The author is chairman and founder, Karma Group