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Travel trends in 2022 and beyond will highlight sustainability and wellness tourism

The National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) reports that tourism in India won’t return to pre-pandemic levels until 2026.

tourism sector
The current season has also seen a rise in the number of people who are enjoying long trips on their own. (Photo source: Reuters)

By Vinay K Mayer,

In India, the tourism sector is expected to grow 6.9% annually to $460 bn by 2028, which is 9.9% of the GDP, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). Traveling has undergone a major transformation over the past two years since the post-pandemic era began. The National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) reports that tourism in India won’t return to pre-pandemic levels until 2026. 

While India’s travel industry continued to rebuild after the second wave, more people are looking forward to traveling in 2022. This sentiment is supported by a vaccination drive as well as complying with all Covid protocols – that made it easier for travelers to get back on track.

The recent domestic reopening of various locations in India saw high demand for short-stay opportunities including workaways, staycations, driveaways, and those intended for affordable luxury. We will be following the biscations trend (working from a resort), which is gaining traction. 

The best infrastructure in India, as well as the most competent healthcare professionals, make it an ideal destination for dental and medical treatments for international travelers. By 2025, medical tourism in India is expected to reach $50 billion.

Vinay K Mayer, Director – Market Research & Consulting at Asia Research Partners LLP, shares his insights on what to expect for India’s travel and tourism industry in 2022 and beyond.

Travel to experience wellness 

As global awareness of positive mental health does the rounds, people are realizing that taking time off and getting away from work is a necessity to maintain one’s sanity. 

The current season has also seen a rise in the number of people who are enjoying long trips on their own. Solo driving or road trips are becoming more and more fashionable.

Studies have shown that travelers who visit exotic locations seeking an escape and time to reflect are revitalized after visiting places where they could get away from their usual way of life and experience something new, such as Ayurveda wellness programs or Yoga retreats, which also happens to be highly beneficial for those who are looking to get over a chronic illness. Kerala and Uttrakhand appear to be the leading destinations for such programs, with ancient practices like Ayurveda, Yoga, and Meditation being offered. 

Sustainable travel

We’re also seeing a renewed focus on sustainable tourism, as people adopt a more cautious approach and opt to visit places with minimal environmental impact. Several local governments in India have been taking steps to reduce the carbon footprint in their travel industry and support local businesses; meanwhile, ecotourism is increasingly gaining traction across the country.

India has many sprawling landscapes that are home to some incredible flora and fauna. In the Western Ghats mountain range, you will find some breathtaking views, amazing hikes, and national parks that are known for their incredible biodiversity.

Travel fueled by technology

With technology occupying such an important place in the lives of today’s environment, most of the hotels are integrating it into their facilities. Technology features like keyless doors, virtual tours, and QR code menus are now being used in hotels all over the world. 

Something extremely interesting is cloud kitchens. Infact, customers are asked via AI-powered chatbots what they would like to eat. Guests can also make orders for room service before reaching their destination using this form of electronic communication! 

As a result of the post-pandemic world, many new trends in travel have emerged. These fads, however, will most likely not last for long, and it’s important for travelers to be aware and prepared for this period with all the necessary safety precautions in place.

(The author is Director – Market Research & Consulting @ Asia Research Partners LLP. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)

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