#9 Travel Trends For 2020

Here are some of the trends that are expected to engulf the travel market in the forthcoming year

learn more about Ramesh Ramanathan

By Ramesh Ramanathan

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The onset of the new decade is expected to bring along, fresher trends within the travel and tourism sector. A number of these trends will mold the way we holiday differently. The past decade witnessed an array of challenges shaping the tourism industry, owing to the fluctuating economy, the political stir and the issue of the rapidly changing climate. However, one thing that remains undeterred is the need to travel and the undying spirit of wanderlust amongst diverse travel segments.

New-age travellers are well abreast with everything that is trending, and much gratitude is owed to the digital era for this swift-evolution. Some of the trends that are expected to engulf the travel market in the forthcoming year include:

Undertourism:

Undertourism is a trend wherein travellers opt for a holiday to similar, yet less popular holiday destinations compared to the conventional, mainstream and overly crowded popular destinations. If you prefer hill stations, but don't want to go to the usual Ooty or Coorg, then Thekkady located in the laps of the serene Idukki hills is a great alternative. The need for discovering newer places to visit is increasingly going to be on everyone's travel bucket list.

Travel Insurance:

The need for planning a seamless and stress free holiday is already trending, along with an essential backup plan in place. In line with the same, a door to door travel insurance that would cover you right from the commencement to the conclusion of your trip is something that most travellers are looking for today, and will make for a trend that will flourish in 2020. Travel insurance essentially covers trip cancellations, missed flight connections, baggage loss and personal accidents among others.

Holidaygraphy:

With the digital age dominating us, it is natural for travellers to share their memorable anecdotes and experiences with the world, and there is no better platform than via perfectly captured pictures of you as well as the ones you are travelling with, without having to bother someone on the streets to click. Holidaygraphy reflects exactly this, and entails hiring a personal photographer who will tend to your need of getting those candid pictures with perfect lighting and zero blurs. This is a trend that will certainly garner further popularity amongst new age travellers.

Bleisure Trips:

While mixing business with pleasure has not been on the ideal travel list, a trend that will become increasingly popular amongst the professional segment is mixing Business trips with Leisure trips. This sort of travel usually allows an employee to add a few more days to their business trip, and make it a leisure related one. This not only helps in getting most of the work done, but also entails a reward at the end of the trip. Most of these holidays can be taken advantage of during long weekends, which will ensure that you have a good time and save more by not having to spend on another holiday.

Spiritual and Pilgrimage Travel:

Several hospitality brands as part of travel and tourism are venturing into setting up their hotels at locations of pilgrimage like Puri, Shirdi and Guruvayur and others. Spiritual and pilgrimage travel has for long, been an untapped segment for travel and is now getting the required traction. Several destinations in India fall short of offering pilgrims luxurious stays, and this has now been acknowledged, which in turn, has excited many hospitality brands to tap the segment. As religion and spirituality are indispensable assets of India, and travelling to these destinations is a given for most of the population, the segment brings along, a plethora of opportunities for the sector.

Nature and Discovery Trails:

Nature and discovery trails provide a glimpse of the local offerings of a place and submerge you in a one-of-a-kind local experience. These trails are usually located on the outskirts of cities and are the best options for weekend getaways — be it solo or with friends/family. Designed to be enjoyed over a small period of time, most nature and discovery trails have activities that awaken the adrenaline rush within travellers. A number of such trails are located very close to main cities; some of these destinations off Mumbai include — Durshet, Dhabosa and Kundalika.

Destination Weddings:

Destination weddings are the flavour of the current wedding season, which has led to many joining the bandwagon. This trend is moulding the wedding culture of India and redefining the hospitality sector. This dream of a memorable wedding extravaganza begins with deciding on the perfect destination. The diverse geography of India is ideal for couples to choose the kind of destination that is aligned with their taste, be it in the hills, by the beach, or amidst the hustle bustle of a city.

Reunions:

Social media has today, enabled people to reconnect and reconvene with their friends from old school and college days. Reunions offer a chance to relive memories, whilst creating new ones. Travelling to offbeat destinations and exploring them via reunions also helps re-foster old bonds. Some destinations that are gaining popularity for these reunion holidays include Ooty, Wayanad, Rishikesh, Goa, Nainital and Corbett.

Travel based on events, sports and music festivals:

Music tourism is the latest trend amongst millennials today that constitute a major chunk of the travel population. Unfamiliar to many until a few years ago, music tourism is increasingly becoming a buzzing phenomenon amongst these new age travellers and is set to take over the travel landscape next year. Some of the most famous music festivals hosted in India today are the NH7 Weekender at Pune, The Hornbill music festival at Kohima, the Ziro festival in Ziro valley and the Sunburn music festival popularly hosted around New Year's Eve in Goa. India is also honing its tourism sector to address the sports craze across domestic destinations that attract sport enthusiastic tourists like Dharamshala for Cricket, Gangtok for Football, Jaipur for Horse Polo and Kufri for Skiing among several others.

Ramesh Ramanathan

Chairman & Managing Director, Sterling Holiday Resorts Ltd.

Ramesh Ramanathan is the Chairman & Managing Director of Sterling Holiday Resorts Limited, a leading Vacation Ownership and Experiential Holiday Company in India. An MBA graduate from the Indian Institute of Management-Calcutta and with over 4 decades of experience that spans across a range of industries, Mr. Ramanathan has nurtured two of the largest Vacation Ownership companies in India.

Ramesh’s career in the industry began with Sterling Holiday Resorts in 1991, where he worked to successfully position the company in the Global Vacation Ownership market. Also, as the founder of Mahindra Holidays and Resorts Mr. Ramanathan is responsible for the establishment of the Club Mahindra brand.

Returning to Sterling in 2011, Mr. Ramanathan transformed the company, taking it to new heights. The advancement of the company under him was furthered by its acquisition by Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited – a global investment and insurance holding company, headquartered in Toronto, Canada with global assets worth more than USD 40 billion. Sterling re-launched its brand in December 2017 under his leadership.

Ramesh is the Founder, Member and an Ex- Chairman of the All India Resort Developers Association (AIRDA) and has served on the National Committee of Tourism, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). Outside of the business world, Ramesh is also a connoisseur of art and Carnatic music.

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