- India’s Millennials showing preference for non-traditional experiences over romance
- Unique destinations in high demand
- Demand from Regional India’s Tier 2 and 3 growing strongly
Thomas Cook was delighted to witness a significant demand for Valentine’s Day – upwards of 27%.
Valentine’s Day falling on a Thursday this year, has allowed travel hungry Indians to take Friday off and avail of an extended weekend (a 4-day break) to celebrate Valentine’s Day by travelling with loved ones.
Our data highlighted that while demand for romantic destinations such as France, Switzerland, Italy, Bali, Langkawi (Malaysia), Mauritius and Maldives continued to grow, it is non-standard destinations, such as Korea, Japan, Fiji, Reunion Island, Morocco, Tunisia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Greece and South Africa that are showing significant interest. From an India perspective, destinations like Dharmshala, Manali, Kerala, Goa, Dalhousie and Udaipur featured as favourites.
Interestingly, while Valentine’s Day has been viewed as a metro phenomenon, Regional India’s Tier 2 and 3 cities are displaying strong demand: metro/mini-metro cities (such as Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Pune) contributing approx. 60% to Thomas Cook India’s Valentine Day bookings, with 40% delivered by Tier 2 and 3 cities (Kochi, Jaipur, Madurai, Lucknow, Chandigarh). This year, Valentine’s Day has seen a significant uptake from India’s millennial segment and DINK/SINK (Double/Single Income No Kids) couples; millennials leading with a 47% contribution to Thomas Cook India’s booking pie.
Romantic experiences such as champagne brunches/candle lit dinners, sunset cruises, couple spas, etc. continue to be the flavour of the season, however it is unique, non-traditional experiences such as quad-biking, snorkelling, sailing trips, bungee jumping, zip lining/zorbing, kite boarding/wind surfing, sea-plane tours, scenic self-drives that are seeing high demand- a growth of 45% against last year. Unique culinary experiences such as vineyard tours and sampling new age wines in South Africa, cooking classes with a local chef in Malaysia, or indulging in Chef Hawker Chan’s Michelin-starred street food in Singapore; outdoor and adrenalin infused experiences like a self-drive in a super car through Tuscany’s countryside or the ultimate experience of an FI ride around the Yas Marina Circuit, an igloo stay in Finland to witness the Northern Lights, a Vespa city sightseeing tour in Singapore, a sunset cruise or kayaking along the mangroves in Abu Dhabi, a swim with the Hawksbill sea turtles off Indonesia’s Lengkuas Island and road trips including Manali-Leh, have seen strong interest!
To optimise the Valentine’s Day extended weekend, India’s travellers capitalised on visa free (visa not required) or visa-on-arrival destinations like Bali, Jordan, Thailand and Kenya and Islands like Mauritius, Maldives & Seychelles.
Solo travel was also interestingly on the increase this Valentine’s Day (an increase of 20%) led primarily by the millennial segment- to celebrate their love for travel. Sizeable demand was seen from the single women’s segment, and this included travel to safe destinations such as Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Dubai-Abu Dhabi, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Shillong and Coorg – with shopping, spa-wellness, culture and culinary experiences topping their wish list!