Depreciating Rupee, soaring airfares and budgetary concerns loom large, indicates TripAdvisor’s Traveller Sentiment Survey
The world’s largest online travel site, today shared the results of its Traveller Sentiment Survey. The survey is a quick check on the pulse of Indian travellers and aims to capture peoples’ travel sentiments against the backdrop of the current challenging economic conditions.
Half the surveyed respondents perceive the current performance of the Indian economy as ’poor’. 66% believe that the economy is going to stay in the current state over the next 6 months or weaken further. Still, the intention to travel remains strong, with 41 % respondents wanting to take more holidays in 2013 as compared to 2012. This figure remains constant when compared to estimates conveyed in the holiday forecast at the beginning of 2013.
Nikhil Ganju, Country Manager, TripAdvisor India, says: “The survey indicates that while budgetary concerns, economic uncertainty and the weakening Rupee are driving travellers to alter their holidays, but they don’t seem ready to abandon their vacation plans as yet. Though the balance may have tipped marginally in favour of domestic holidays, overall holiday estimates remain healthy with 60% respondents still looking at taking between 2-4 holidays this year.”
Domestic holidays hold steady
Plans for domestic holidays show no detraction from travellers’ estimates for 2013 taken at the beginning of the year, indicating that domestic vacations stay stable. Providing that little extra impetus to domestic travel, 19% respondents in the survey said they replaced their international holiday with a domestic one, on account of the staggering fall in Rupee value.
Foreign holidays: Down but not out
Foreign holidays see a marginal dip but traveller sentiment stays optimistic on heading overseas for vacation. 36% respondents believed they would take more international holidays in 2013 compared to their foreign vacations last year but mid-year, the sentiment sees a 7% dip with 29% respondents now thinking they will end up taking more international holidays this year compared to 2012. However, a healthy 62% still claim they will undertake international travel this year.
The survey also reveals a resilient response to the plummeting value of the Rupee, with 36% respondents saying their international holiday plans stand unchanged and 16% picking a more economical foreign destination for their vacation than initially planned. Only 10% respondents said they cancelled their foreign holiday for this year altogether.
Budget woes inflate holiday spend without deflating holiday plans
Inflation, falling Rupee value and high airfares seem to be primary among factors impacting holiday budgets, but resilient travellers are choosing to revise and not refrain from holiday plans.
Even with more travellers estimating their holiday spend to increase over last year, 75% of those surveyed are modifying holiday plans though not abandoning them.
Rough skies for travellers on airfares
Airfares are clearly an area of concern as even at the beginning of 2013, 46% saw it as a major cause of driving the holiday budget up this year. Mid-year as well, it is the second biggest holiday budget concern.
This insight is further strengthened as we explore traveller’s recent perception of airfares in the survey. 48% respondents believe airfares to popular tourist destinations have been consistently higher this year compared to last year. Recent flight sales/deals and discounted fares have also not managed to reverse this perception completely as 37% believe the Air ticket sales/deals do not offer lucrative discounts to popular or relevant destinations compared to only 21% who said that recent airline deals/discounts have made flying cheaper.
Fear factor: Uttarakhand
While some travellers do stand in support and plan to visit the state soon, quite a few remain fearful in the aftermath.
The floods calamity may have spelt disaster for Uttarakhand tourism but with plenty of alternatives within the country for those seeking cooler climes, travellers seem to have moved their holidays to other hill destinations, according to the survey.
Other travel snippets
· The destinations most visited during the first 6 months saw Goa emerging at the top followed by Shimla and Kerala. Some destinations popular on the travel map for the next 6 months include Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Leh & Ladakh, Rajasthan, Coorg and Puducherry.
· Thailand, Singapore, Dubai, Bangkok and Malaysia remain favourites as most frequented international holiday spots for Indian travellers till July this year, as well as top destinations on the holiday wishlist for the rest of the year.
· More people seem to be keen to take off for a short trip this August compared to last year. 43% respondents confirmed they planned to take off during the long weekends in August this year for a short break, with Independence Day weekend being the most popular time to head out. Last year, 35% respondents took advantage of the long weekends during the month.