Indian luxury travel may return this winter

Luxury travel specialists are expecting demand to resurface in the winter season, starting October this year, with well-established as well as unique destinations gaining the bulk of interest.

Ajay Jaipuria, founder of Travel Oyster India, said luxury travellers would be in a stronger position to return to tourism first than the budget travel segment, and added that the reopening of European borders could trigger travel demand among the well-heeled Indians.

The outbound luxury travel segment in India is set to rebound later this year; couple enjoying a vacation in a beach bungalow in Uluwatu, Bali in Indonesia pictured

Aditya Tyagi, founder of Luxe Escape, shared that he received a travel enquiry from a family that intended to travel in the first week of October.

He believes that the early interest in resuming travel is a result of the travel credits offered by cruise companies, hotels and other tourism suppliers to customers who had paid for their bookings pre-pandemic.

“These credits are valid till next year-end and travellers would want to utilise them once the situation returns to normal,” Tyagi said.

Prior to the pandemic, Tyagi had taken in “good bookings” for luxury cruises and charters of “the finest yachts”. There was also a trend towards independent boutique hotels and chalets hosted by owners.

“We had a booking for a villa in Italy’s Lake Como and another for a private place in the middle of Florence,” he said.

When asked which destinations would see the first wave of returning luxury Indian travellers, travel specialists told TTG Asia that those that had recovered from the pandemic quickly, have a good reputation for being clean and safe, and enjoy good air connectivity would be top choices.

Manas Sinha, director of ISA Tourism, which represents many luxury hotels around the world in India, named Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Switzerland, the Netherlands, South Africa, the Maldives, Sri Lanka and Indonesia as some of the best candidates, due to their “effective measures” for curbing the spread of Covid-19.

Jaipuria shared that ongoing conversations with clients have shown interest in Switzerland and Scandinavian countries, which are attractive during the winter season when Indian outbound travel is expected to resume.

“Another simple reason is that these countries are less crowded (than other popular destinations), so our guests will feel safe,” added Jaipuria.

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