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Meeting family tops list of travel plans for the year

Travel to local locations recommended by friends, home stays, and meeting loved ones will trend this year, finds an Airbnb survey

Most people planning to travel this year are eyeing hill stations as they want to stay closer to nature.
Most people planning to travel this year are eyeing hill stations as they want to stay closer to nature. (iStock)

The confidence to travel seems to be returning despite pandemic-related safety worries. While many young professionals have taken off to hills and beaches to work remotely, more than half of those who have not travelled since last March would like to make a trip to meet their loved ones.

Across age groups, 57% of people surveyed said they would travel to meet family members sometime this year, while half of the millennials want to travel with or meet their friends and family, going by the findings of a new survey by Airbnb and YouGov. More than 1,000 people in India responded to the virtual survey across age and demography.

For the past few months, anecdotal trends have indicated that people are avoiding hotels, and the survey backs this. It found that 85% of comprising GenX and millennials prefer not to stay in hotels. Instead they would pick heritage homes, havelis, farmstays and villas.

Over a quarter of millenials plan to travel this year. Word-of-mouth will drive decision-making this year, with people looking to explore destinations recommended by local hosts, family or friends. A reason for this could be that safety and health still a priority. For 59% respondents, this was a major concern. Hence, stringent compliance with local regulations and "enhanced cleaning protocol for local hosts will all drive up confidence to travel," the survey stated.

The demand for exclusive and secluded holidays in a natural habitat seems to be trending as people are tired of being confined to urban areas for the past year. Half of would-be travellers felt this kind of holiday was more meaningful and would help them to relax and rejuvenate. 53% of GenZ and GenX respondents were specific about wanting to visit a place close to nature, while 44% millennials wanted to do the same.

Hills continue to be a sought after travel destination for a quarter of travellers. Some of the locations on travellers’ radar include Manali, Mussoorie, Nainital, Ooty, Munnar, Coorg and Kashmir.

With an increasing number of travellers wanting to be close to nature, sustainable travel that helps local communities will grow. Majority of participants (94%) said they would look at sustainable travel when they choose to go on holiday this year.

Amanpreet Bajaj, country manager, Airbnb India, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, said, “We will see the continued growth of restorative, inclusive and sustainable travel throughout India. Travelers are looking at more meaningful experiences, prizing personal connection and valued time with friends and family. Holidays in the hills and other natural settings are also helping travelers re-connect with the environment as a medium to rest and recharge.”

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