Indians keen to start travelling again: Thomas Cook, SOTC survey

Health remains the top concern

Tourism

July 11, 2021

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Indians keen to start travelling again: Thomas Cook, SOTC survey

Respondents show a strong desire to start travelling in 2021

After over 18 months of being locked at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, Indians are now keen to restart travelling, says survey by leading travel firms Thomas Cook India and SOTC.

There is a strong demand amongst Indians to begin travelling immediately as nearly 7 in 10 persons say they are keen to travel this year itself, while the remaining prefer to wait for next year before they begin travelling , while the remaining 31 pc are eagerly waiting for 2022 to start travelling.

These are the findings of Third Holiday Readiness Report (June 2021), a survey done by Thomas cook India and SOTC, reveals that there is a strong demand among Indians to travel in 2021.

Even though the second wave of Covid-19 has just begun to ebb, there is always a risk that the 3rd wave is going to hit just as hard if not worse. In view of the uncertainty about the future, 81 pc of people would like to be financially safe and get a full refund incase of the trip getting cancelled.

“Indian consumers continue to display strong travel desire with a noteworthy 69 pc keen to travel in 2021. Equally important are consumer concerns on health-safety, uncertainty, and need for refundable/zero cancellation products. To address this and boost customer confidence, we have launched TravShield – our commitment to personal safety, financial safety, and mental safety,” says Rajeev Kale President & Country Head – Holidays, MICE, Visa, Thomas Cook (India) Limited.

There is a lot of demand for both domestic and international tourism among Indians with 54 pc willing to travel domestically and 45 pc for international travel. Even with this big appetite to travel, the biggest concern for people continues to be their health and safety, with 70 pc of people citing it to be a big concern, and out of that for 19 pc of people it is the biggest uncertainty.

However, for some travellers like Toshi Karan, a teacher in Kolkata, it is too soon to start venturing out on tourism as the pandemic continues in many parts of the country. “We have seen how serious Covid-19 is and even when it does not kill, which it does in big numbers, the long-term damage it can cause is still not fully understood. So, I prefer to be safe than sorry in travelling. Once we are certain that the pandemic is behind us will we begin travelling again,” Karan tells Media India Group.

“Personal Safety includes vaccinated travellers on tour, vaccinated hotel staff/drivers and interactions with vaccinated travel advisors, sanitized rooms, restaurants and vehicles. Financial safety covers free cancellations and re-scheduling. To ensure mental safety, our products are inbuilt with Covid Insurance and to ensure peace of mind we have our 24×7 Doctor-on-Call service for any emergency during travel – in partnership with Apollo Clinics,” adds Rajeev Kale.

One of the favourite summer destinations among Indians is Himachal Pradesh and over the past few weeks, the state has seen its tourism sector explode as the number of visitors from neighboring areas like Delhi, Haryana, and Punjab skyrocket.

Arun Trehan, a travel agent from Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh says, “The reason for such a huge increase in people coming into the state is the fact that people were cooped up in their homes for so long, and then suddenly government withdrew all restrictions, so that led to a sudden increase in people coming out to travel.”

On safety of the travellers, he says, “It’s really up to the people how they follow Covid-19 guidelines. We really can’t scream at people to do anything.”

With a growing number of travellers, concerns have started to arise about risk of a 3rd wave approaching fast, “It is a real concern, but the tourism sector has been struggling since the pandemic started, so right now travel agencies are trying to make up for the losses and also make enough money to keep themselves out of a financial crisis if there’s another lockdown,” says Trehan.

India’s first lockdown came way back in March 2020 and since then there have been many lockdowns subsequently. “I am a little concerned about Covid-19 affecting me and my family, but we have been fully vaccinated and will be travelling with our own personal vehicle to make sure we are not exposed to the majority of the people,” says Devank Punia, a student based in New Delhi tells Media India Group, who is planning to travel within the next two months.

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