Survey Globus' study of Indian outbound travellers throws up interesting results

Indians are famous for staunchly sticking to desi khaana even while travelling outside the country. The growing number of companies offering ready-to-heat meals is proof of how much we love our pongal, dal makhni and Pindi chole! But, the winds of change are slowly blowing, if Globus' study of Indian outbound travellers is any indication.

The company, known for its escorted coach tours, interviewed 1,500 experienced travellers — 93 per cent of the target group was between the ages of 30 and 60.

Some of the results were predictable, but others surprised the company. Only 14 per cent wanted to have all meals included, and Indian at that. As many as 66 per cent wanted a few meals included in the tour, with the opportunity to sample local cuisine.

Says Gauri Jayaram, Regional Director South Asia & Middle East, Globus: “To an extent, the results did surprise us. It is possible that we got such feedback because we interviewed people in the metros who are open to new experiences. But, five years ago, I wonder if I would have got this response about wanting to sample local cuisine.”

So, why did Globus undertake such a study? “It's been five years since we are here, and we've been doing things in line with our beliefs. We wanted to see if the market thought reinforced that, and if we were in tune with the market,” says Gauri.

The super rich

And, despite the recession, 23 per cent of the people wanted to stay at least in first class hotels. Forty-nine per cent preferred budget hotels and a tour price of less than $100 a day; the rest wanted superior tourist hotels. Says Gauri: “I won't say the industry has not been hit by recession, but there is a segment of the super-rich that is recession-proof. They are used to a huge swatch of luxury options, and high-end coach tours suit them, because it offers a nice balance of things being done for you and a chance to explore a place on your own.”

Another result in the survey was that 60 per cent of respondents preferred coach touring, and 72 per cent of those interviewed wanted a tour director to help them on a tour to Europe, but only with certain things. Seventy-five per cent wanted must-sees included in the tour, but also some free time to explore on their own. And, 47 per cent wanted must-sees, but also a choice of optional activities.

“These days, people make educated choices, and read up on a destination before they approach a tour operator. They want to see places that are not on the regular tourist circuit too,” adds Gauri.

So, at a time when the Internet has changed the way people plan their journey and travel, where do tour operators stand? “Well, the Internet is a good thing, but it is not the Bible. I personally feel that knowing everything about a destination takes away from the surprise that is so vital to a journey.”