Top travel trends for 2021

Based on our analysis from several market and industry feedback, the Think Strawberries Knowledge Centre has crunched some serious travel data and outbound travel trends for indian travellers in 2021.

  1. Outbound tourism is set to initiate recovery by the last quarter of 2019
  2. Working executives between 30 and 45 years will lead the initial recovery –  first to domestic destinations before travelling to short haul destinations like Dubai, Bangkok, Singapore, etc (1)
  3. The lengthy lockdown period imposed in India is expected to lead to pent-up demand for travel among working executives, who have found themselves busier working from home (2)
  4. Post COVID-19 local stays, eco stays, village tours, skill-based tours and educational tours might see a good rise in future as preference would be towards sustainable & simple living [3]
  5. Social distancing is going to the New Normal and any form of physical touch will be avoided by travelers [4]
  6. 75% of pre-COVID travel to be back by Summer of 2021, reaching 2019 levels only by 2022
  7. Leisure travel to see increased youth travelling and older gen would travel less due to health and safety considerations [5]
  8. Business travel will continue to remain low key for several months, with online meetings becoming the new norm [6]

Whether it’s closer to home or further abroad, travel has definitely changed! These top trends we have observed will apprise you of the areas your brand must focus on to continually grow and rebuild a travel experience that is better than what it was pre-COVID.

Millennials opt to avail Personal Loans to Travel

The aim for long-term saving and a secure future often outweigh the need to spend on travelling. That trend has witnessed a massive shift in India with the sandwich generation opting for more travelling in order to attain a certain level of work-life balance.

Loans for travelling has emerged as an attractive option for millennials to fulfill their dreams. However, a lot of travel plans are result of long weekends and last-minute holiday planning, which require quick accessible financing option

Indian Spending on foreign travel touched USD 596 million in June 2019

Spending on foreign travel touched USD 596 million in June 2019, which was 42% of the total forex purchased by Indian individuals in the month. This was revealed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which started collating data under the liberalised remittance scheme since 2004.

It has been the highest spend on travel since 2004. In the last year, USD 381 million was spent on foreign travel till June 2018, which accounted for 37% of the total forex.

IndiGo ties up with Skyscanner enhancing Indian and International destinations alike

The partnership with Skyscanner, one of the world’s leading travel search engine, will not only enhance access to Indian destinations but also place Indigo more prominently on the world map. Having a fleet of over 200 aircraft, the low-cost airline offers over 1,400 daily flights and connects 56 domestic destinations and 19 international destinations.

Indian Outbound Travel no longer restricted to traditional Summer Vacation

Thomas Cook (India) Ltd., India’s leading integrated travel and travel related financial services company, has observed that demand for holidays is no longer restricted to the traditional Summer vacation. India’s new age travellers are displaying strong and growing appetite for travel during Autumn/Fall to enjoy nature at its best, with pleasant weather and the resplendent colours of autumn, giving the destination a distinctive appeal. In order to maximise the potential of the yet underleveraged season, Thomas Cook India has launched an array of special Autumn tours.

Jordan’s tourism revenue increased by 8.6% hitting $3.2 billion within 7 months of 2019

Latest figures show that Jordan’s tourism saw an 8.6% increase in revenue hitting $3.2 billion from around the world within 7 months of 2019 (January- July 2019). The total number of tourists to Jordan has increased by 9.8 % as compared to 2018 for the same period.

This year Jordan will further confirm its status as one of the most attractive holiday destinations by making visa-on-arrival process easy. The Queen Alia International Airport, Amman has recently introduced 12 new visa processing, purchasing counters for non-Jordanian passengers for entry visa.

Commenting on the increase of tourism revenue, Dr. Abed Al Razzaq Issam Arabiyat, Managing Director, Jordan Tourism Board said, “We are very pleased to see a notable increase in the tourism revenue and it will definitely spill over in remaining months of 2019 and into 2020 as well. Aqaba has recently unveiled its first Underwater Military Museum with 19 decommissioned pieces of military hardware at the bed of Red Sea coast which will help us attract more visitors. The military machines are stationed along the coral reefs imitating a battle tactical formation, that have formed the most exciting underwater escapade, intriguing divers and snorkelers to discover more and more of the dive site, not expecting what to see next and leaving them with a totally unique experience. This museum will help put Aqaba on the diving World map. We look forward to welcoming even more tourists especially from India as it is an emerging market with a huge population and a growing economy, especially in the IT sector, which caters for the potential in the Indian market for MICE tourism, faith tourism, weddings, and movie production.”

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When Celebrities decided to ‘Think Strawberries’ and ‘Say Sharjah’

The emirate of Sharjah is well-known for its rich, cultural heritage – an identity that has been recognized a number of times as shown by the winning of the Cultural Capital of the Arab World 1998 and Islamic Culture Capital 2014 awards. It is a vibrant city with an exciting food and arts scene, a heritage area that is the largest restoration project in the region along with various commercial centres and over 22 museums. However, the Indian traveler hasn’t been made aware of Sharjah’s diverse experiences and offerings.

Due to the limited awareness and imagery in both B2B and Consumer markets in India, our aim was to:

  1. Mobilize the market for Sharjah Tourism (SCTDA) through synergizing initiatives that will generate demand.
  2. Promote tourism to Sharjah as a “Long Weekend Getaway” Internationally and position it as the “Most Affordable International Holiday”.

We started with basic hygiene outreach on Think Strawberries social media channels – Facebook and Instagram; as this ensured Sharjah’s direct outreach to the TS B2B network of Trade and Media.

All content that was published was skewed and aligned to the targeted promotion pillars:

Thrill Seeker
Rich Culture & Heritage
Ideal Family Destination
Great Shopping Zone
Gastronomical Experience

which are all part of the core destination proposition to the India market. These elements also bind the travelers’ interest and activities, while experiencing a “weekend getaway”.

In the rapidly digitally transforming media environment, influencers and celebrities have a significant role in impacting purchase behavior, capability to build interest for Sharjah and organically grow engagements, comments and positive sentiments. Thus, alongwith general tourism promotion content, at regular intervals Influencer and Celebrity collaborations were also conducted to spur our positioning of Sharjah as a “weekend getaway” destination.

Each Celebrity Trip consisted of India’s 5 leading TV stars, celebrities with huge universal fan following, daily reach into millions of homes visit a destination and create a travelogue. This helped position Sharjah in a relevant Indian context with strong endorsements; and special emphasis on how culturally open, women friendly the destination is.