Fed up with being confined in the walls of the home for over a year, Indians certainly wanted an escape from their banal life to hills, beaches and nature hikes. What held them indoors to date was the arrival of the vaccines, after which they could think of travelling. As the numbers of the second covid wave began plateauing, the tourist destinations gradually opened from the prolonged lockdowns. With vaccination drives in full swing, people took their jabs, packed their bags, and took their heels off to Manali or to a destination of their choice as a part of ‘revenge travel’.
Revenge travel is a behaviour that has recently emerged amongst the Indian tourists in the pandemic that involved overcrowding of tourist destinations. As a result of staying indoors for the longest time, the tourist spots began experiencing a huge influx of tourists, who desperately needed a vacation to get rid of their monotonous lives. According to Thomas Cook’s travel survey, 69 percent were keen to travel in 2021, 18 percent are ready to travel immediately post lockdown restrictions are lifted and 51 percent wanted to travel within 3-6 months.
What is this ‘Revenge Travel’ emerging in Indians?
The immense desire to venture out reached its peak with lockdowns that nudged people indoors. To quench the thirst of travelling Indian tourists are travelling out to explore some new remote locations nearby urban cities and also heading to small forests to breathe in some fresh air and feel connected to nature and family. As most people got bored of their daily routines, they ventured out together at the same time planning the same itinerary resulting in overcrowding.
According to Thomas Cook’s travel survey, 69 percent were keen to travel in 2021, 18 percent are ready to travel immediately post lockdown restrictions are lifted and 51 percent wanted to travel within 3-6 months.
Revenge Travel – Good News for Travel Companies
The travel companies which are on the brink of losses and closures, the ‘revenge travel’ phenomenon is a blessing. Car rental company Avis India is experiencing a surge in commuter bookings choosing solo, in couples, and with their families. Most of the car bookings are happening in weekend gateways to nearby mountains and other drivable locations. Similarly, IntrCity SmartBus is also seeing a rise in pocket-friendly bus travels in routes like Delhi-Lucknow, Delhi-Gorakhpur, Delhi-Amritsar. It ran around 18-20 buses for 1.5 lakh travellers monthly for leisure or travel to pilgrimage centres like Manali and Tirupati.
Online travel company Cleartip, is witnessing a 10 percent rise in bookings with travel dates more than four weeks away as compared to 5 percent in 2020. MakeMyTrip is offering its travellers more flexibility and convenience while booking a train journey on the platform. It has introduced Trip Guarantee which is a facility that allows customers to upgrade their unconfirmed train ticket to opt for a flight, cab, bus and alternate train journey for a future date.
New Upcoming Travel Behaviour for Revenge Travel
Most tourists are travelling to lesser-known destinations and avoiding traditional tourist spots. Here are some of the new travel behaviours emerging:
- Drivable locations
- Health and wellness-themed trips to recover from mental fatigue
- Spiritual trips
- Private journeys for small group travels
- Short trips to remote wilderness regions
What Lies Ahead for Travel companies?
With a large part of India yet to be fully vaccinated, the revenge travel behaviour showcased by tourists poses a high risk of the emergence of a third covid wave and again be a huge blow to the travel industry. However, it is anticipated that the ones who are vaccinated might opt for self-driving vehicles for travelling to nearby locations and go for short trips avoiding public transport. With self-driving cars, there will be less exposure with other individuals ensuring safety and fun. Hence, the car rental companies might experience demand. Business opportunities for the travel companies might emerge due to the upcoming festive seasons, where people would like to make advance bookings. Travel companies should offer flexibility and convenience to travellers to upgrade their ticket for a different mode of transport in case if tickets are not confirmed especially in train bookings.