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‘Indians book travel in advance’

DELHI

Contrary to popular belief, Indians are booking travel tickets in advance. That’a according to a new survey by Skyscanner. With less than a month to go for the longest extended weekend of 2014 – October 2-5, Indians are planning and booking their trips in full swing. According to a survey released by leading global travel search engine Skyscanner, 56% of Indians book their travel over three months in advance to make sure their preferred dates are secured. The survey noted that risk taking and last minute bookings are not a habit among Indians.

“2014 has eight long weekends with October’s being the longest. Our data shows that Indians become more experimental when it comes to travel and in the spirit of exploration, they are searching for newer destinations and are making advance reservations to make the most of the four days break. Skyscanner’s ‘Search Everywhere’ feature facilitates the whole exploration process as travellers can search anywhere and everywhere for destination inspiration. It’s a fun and useful way to help travellers find their dream destination at the best possible price” said Kavitha Gnanamurthy, Senior Marketing Manager, Skyscanner India.

Keen on exploring off-beat destinations? Skyscanner’s survey shows that 86% Indians search for destinations they have never visited before. Though the preferred mode of transport remains air for 48% of Indians, an increasing enthusiasm can be witnessed among travellers for road trips, with car and bus rides being preferred over train.

While domestic travel will make up the majority of vacations this long weekend, a large number of Indians plan to broaden their horizon and are willing to explore International destinations. Skyscanner’s data shows that Thailand, the UAE and Singapore are the top searched short haul destinations for travel in October. With the rising interest to explore the roots of Indian culture, Bhuj witnessed 108% increase in searches in the month of September compared to August, 2014. Within India, travellers are also looking at exploring Jodhpur, Bagdogra, Udaipur and Gaya.

The Middle-Eastern countries continue to draw in the crowds as Qatar (up 516%), Oman (up 515%) and Kuwait (up 494%) saw increase in flight searches for the long weekend in October. In addition to the extended weekend, the Hajj travel dates between October 2nd and 7th to Makkah for the annual pilgrimage is adding to the overall increase in searches. Saudi Arabia witnessed 444% increase in searches in the month of August and September compared to June and July, 2014.

Indians take risks and enjoy the adventure in their choice of destinations but as far as planning and bookings are concerned, they like to play safe. Skyscanner’s survey indicates that more than half of the travellers’ book tickets well in advance to cash in the offers from the air-fare wars. Only 21% of travellers take chances by making the reservations just a week before their trip. With the fear of visa rejection, 85% of travellers prefer making genuine bookings over dummy bookings. Though a small number, travel loans is on a rise. While 18% of Indians take travel loans for a well-planned holiday, the majority still stays away. The survey also noted that 71% of travellers prefer to holiday where their friends and family are based.

Skyscanner is a leading global travel search site offering an unbiased, comprehensive and free flight search service as well as instant online comparisons for hotels and car hire.
Having launched in 2003, it is now helping 25 million unique visitors each month to find the best deals, through powerful technology we have built across our website and mobile app.
With more than 400 employees spanning 35 nationalities across six global offices – Edinburgh, Glasgow, Singapore, Beijing, Miami, Barcelona, Skyscanner places great emphasis on its global flight coverage, with search available in over 30 languages and 70 currencies.

Musafirnamah Bureau

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