Thomas Cook (India) Ltd., India’s leading integrated travel and related financial services company, has reported a strong growth in ‘Festival Tourism’ as the Indian traveller seeks to combine spiritual elements with unique cultural experiences. This year, the Kumbh Mela and Holi have proved to be significant drivers, with over 20% growth from the previous year.
The company has also recognized that a ‘smart weekend holiday’ concept (taking a day off from work to extend festival holidays) is creating a distinctive boost to travel demand.
This year, Holi has reiterated the trend of Festival Tourism and this has been a boon to Thomas Cook India’s domestic travel business, with demand up by over 12%. Indians are showing significant interest in the celebrations at Vrindavan’s famous Banke-Bihari temple and Gulal Kund’s re-enactment of Holi by local Krisha-leela drama troupes in Brar; equally Mathura-Dwarka; or joining in Shantiniketan’s cultural events started by Tagore.
Thomas Cook India’s customer data and analytics also reveal that Festival Tourism is no longer restricted to India, with the country’s new age travellers opening up to cultural experiences globally, and an increase in demand of approximately 20% for experiences including the water festival/ Songkran in Thailand, the lantern festival in Taiwan, Chinese New Year in Singapore, the Dragon Boat Festival in Hong Kong, the colourful Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Venice, Italy, Mardi Gras festivities in Louisiana, USA, the famed tomato festival/ La Tomatina in Spain, a colourful display of costume and culture – Dia de los Muertos in Mexico, and the Boryeong Mud Festival in Korea, amongst others.
The concept of ‘smart weekend holidays’ is another significant trend being witnessed this Holi weekend, with work-weary millennials taking a Friday off to create an extended weekend from Thursday to Sunday.
Short haul, no-visa or easy visa regime destinations are in high demand, with an increase of over 25% to destinations like Dubai-Abu Dhabi, Singapore, Bali, Thailand, Sri Lanka; also off-roading and adventure getaways to Uttarakhand, Corbett, Kufri, Neemrana, Kolad/Dandeli in Maharashtra, Andamans, Mysore-Coorg, and more. Growth is being witnessed predominantly from millennials/the DINKs-SINKs segment and ad-hoc groups of friends and families.
Rajeev Kale, President and Country Head, Leisure Travel, MICE, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd. said, “Festival Tourism is the new trend, with India’s new age travellers rediscovering their roots and joining in the celebrations of festivals like Holi in India’s Vrindavan, Mathura-Dwarka; also Mardi Grass, Songkran, and several others in international locations. Extending the weekend by taking a day off from work, is giving rise to an interesting concept of ‘smart weekend holidays’. Both are catalysing our travel demand this year, and clearly trends that we are looking forward to!”