Winter Travel Trends
Winter travel is all about special and unique experiences – based on each traveller’s interests/passions. Winter travel experiences offer true discovery/exploration of winter special activities, festivals and gastronomic experiences that create memories that money cannot buy.
Exceptional winter travel experiences across popular international destinations include aurora hunting in Sweden; Finland’s husky safaris; stays in an ice hotel or glass igloos in Norway with spectacular views of the northern lights, snowmobiling, snowboarding/ tobogganing in Lapland and a visit to Santa’s village in Rovaniemi. A diversity of wellness: from Iceland’s geo-thermal Blue Lagoon to the Swiss spa town of Bad Zurzach. Distinctive gastronomic options include fondue aboard Zurich’s Fondue Tram or exclusive winery trips to Chamonix, Burgundy and California’s Napa Valley.
India creates an enthralling winter holiday experience with its pleasant weather conditions - snow in the mountains, fogs in the plains and warm sunshine near beaches. Travellers are interested in winter activities like skiing, sleighing, ice-skating along with cable car rides; trekking, hiking, toy train rides across India’s winter favourites like Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Leh Ladakh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim etc. There are several winter festivals held during this time including Gujarat’s Rann Utsav, Jaisalmer’s Desert Festival or Nagaland’s Hornbill Festival. Also, outdoor adventure – like biking-camping trips, rock climbing, jungle safaris and extra-ordinary experiences like picnic lunch in the middle of an apple orchard.
Additionally, the cruise opportunity is growing rapidly as cruises represent a great value proposition for travellers, an all-inclusive holiday offering dining, entertainment, on-shore tours, without the hassle of check-in check out, transfers, etc. Popular winter cruises include: Asia sailings on Genting Dream, Royal Caribbean; Middle East Costa Cruises sailings; Scandinavian Fjord cruises; Antarctica’s ice-breaker luxury sailings.
Domestic travel demand for the winter season has come under the spotlight like never before. The uptick in demand for India’s winter wonderland has been truly significant. Demand covers resort stays amidst snow laden landscapes of Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Auli, to Mussoorie, Shimla, Dalhousie and Dharmshala; the North East’s Gangtok, Sikkim emerging strongly on the radar; also plantation villa stays set against verdant tea coffee estates of Coorg, Cunnoor, Munnar to the lesser known but idyllic Idduki, Lambasingi and Arasu Valley.
Domestic trips are being planned for various reasons like family bonding; celebrate special occasions and milestones/weddings in India.
Travellers are ready to tick off their travel bucket list this winter instead of spending on materialistic commodities. They are opting for premium home stays and independent villas and properties in winter favourite destinations. They prefer staying in unique accommodations when they travel and explore extra-ordinary options such as heritage homes, havelis and villas. Heritage homes include colonial stays with the provision of timelessness that allows people to have a relaxing stay with anytime dining options. Travellers now prefer villas over hotels and restaurants with more spaces including private villas with personal chef and concierge services, villas with a snow-covered mountain view, and more for relaxation. Resorts and Vacation Rentals have witnessed a strong demand as travellers are seeking larger spaces that are better equipped for a relaxing winter stay.
The new generation travellers are environment conscious and seem to be interested in environment friendly tourism which in turn is promoting sustainable travel options for the winter season. Sustainable travel choices are mostly closer to remote villages and they not only provide a boost to these communities, but are accessible and affordable and are a transformative choice contributing to unique and individual travel experiences. They also help in raising funds for conserving nature in these areas. This trend has definitely accelerated over the past year and it is expected to grow further.
Digital revolution and Contactless travel
The travel and hospitality industry has made significant efforts to boost confidence among travellers by making services contactless for their convenience. These include contactless check-ins at airports and hotels to order food and beverages, concierge services at hotels online. Travellers are warming up and getting comfortable with the idea of using contactless services and building appreciation for tech-rich experiences that promise travel safety, upfront.
The travel industry has enhanced their approach towards digital advancement to capitalize on the digital experience which ensures all customer needs are met virtually.
Health and safety will continue to be a top priority
According to the survey primordial Hygiene & Safety, 77% of Indians need the reassurance of travelling/staying with brands that provide clear cut health and safety policies. Hotels, airports, airlines are investing in comprehensive safety protocols as travellers are putting health and safety first.