Destinations in South America and east Europe are becoming increasingly popular

R. Shriram has been to several conventional overseas holiday destinations over the years, but this summer, he will explore the mystical land of Mongolia for the first time with his friends. Like many residents in the city who travel abroad frequently, this time around, he and his friends, wanted to explore a destination that was off the beaten path. In the ‘Summer Holiday Travel Survey' conducted by TripAdvisor, the city, along with Hyderabad and Kolkata, emerged as one of the top three cities whose travellers were opting to holiday in off-beat destinations.

The survey also revealed that the city has the highest percentage (94 per cent) of travellers across six major metros planning a holiday this summer, and 90 per cent of the respondents from the city who are travelling abroad this summer claimed to have done so before.

Veteran travellers such as Ranjeet Jacob and his family like to go on holidays where ‘nothing goes as planned'. He says that he and his wife did not want their two children to spend their time watching television, and hence started travelling as much as possible. “We've been to several places like Bangkok, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and New Zealand. We do not believe in organised tours and since all of us are interested in outdoor holidays that involved activities like river-rafting and wildlife tours, we get together as a family and plan our holiday ourselves,” he says. This time, the family will be going to Dubai.

However, families like Ranjeet's are far and few between, with most opting for tour packages. “Many are keen on exploring experiential holidays, such as ones with adventures, wildlife visits and eco-tours, and sports events like F1. Our ‘special interest' tours are finding an increasing audience from Chennai, especially for deep-sea diving and fishing expeditions,” said Madhav Pai, Chief Operating Officer, Leisure Travel (Outbound), Thomas Cook (India). Substantiating this, the survey showed that 49 per cent of travellers were open to the concept of mystery holidays.

While destinations in Europe and the Far East continue to be in demand, destinations like South America and East Europe are increasingly popular. “We have also observed a keen interest in South Africa, Scandinavia, Spain, Turkey, Indonesia, Maldives, Macau, Greece, Jordan, Fiji, Israel and Seychelles,” said Mr. Pai.

G. Revathy, who with her husband and her son, will be holidaying abroad for the first time, says that when it came to choosing their destination, she let her teenage son decide.

After more than three months of planning, and a longer period of saving, the family will be going to Singapore, often the most preferred destination for first-time travellers.

The choice of destination and duration of the stay varies heavily, often depending on whether it is the family's first vacation abroad. While frequent travellers choose longer, leisurely holidays, first-timers such as Ms. Revathy opt for conventional itineraries, packing in multiple destinations in a short span.

Soaring prices and the rising cost of travel do not seem to be deterring most in the city, with the survey pointing out that 40 per cent of travellers were willing to spend around Rs. 1 lakh per person on their holidays. The profile of the traveller too, says, Mr. Pai has widened from honeymooners, families and individuals to include youth, young adults and senior citizens.

“An interesting trend is the noticeable shift from a single annual vacation to multiple holidays in a year which means at least one long vacation, coupled with weekend breaks to nearby international destinations. A majority prefer the summer break due to long school vacations,” he added.

Keywords: TourismThomas Cook

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