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People around the world are feeling overwhelmingly more optimistic about travelling in 2023 compared to 2022 and, despite some current instability felt globally, nearly 72% report that travelling will always be worth it. The mood is shifting from one of hopeful uncertainty to bold adaptability. If 2022 was about the triumphant return of travel, 2023 will be about creatively reimagining it amidst the chaos. Nothing will be off limits and everything is on the menu as everyone seeks to find the right balance in a world of contradictions.
To understand how travel will be reimagined in 2023, Booking.com commissioned extensive research with more than 24,000 travellers across 32 countries and territories including India, combining it with its insights as a leading digital travel platform to reveal seven emerging travel predictions.
Santosh Kumar, country manager for India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, and Indonesia at Booking.com comments: “The years of pandemic gave us a chance to reminisce and acknowledge that travel should not be taken for granted. Our Travel predictions 2023 research demonstrates a desire for travel to be a way to seek unapologetic moments of happiness and escapism to counteract the heavy realities of our news feeds. At Booking.com our aim will continue to be to make it easier for everyone to seek their unique travel bliss in a more personalised and connected way in the year ahead and beyond.”
1) Preppers in paradise
Camouflaged cabins, campfire cuisine and compasses; going off-grid will never be more sought after than in 2023. 64% of Indian travellers want their travelling experiences to have a more back-to-basics feel and are constantly looking for ‘off-grid’ style vacations to escape from reality and switch off and experience life with only the bare necessities. 73% Indian travellers are also keen to use travel in 2023 as an opportunity to learn survival skills. Expect to see more eco-friendly, earthly stays springing up to accommodate burnt-out city dwellers searching for simplicity, as well as accommodations offering guidance for Indian travellers on how to be more self-sufficient. ‘Off-grid’ in 2023 won’t necessarily mean roughing it though.
2) Virtual voyagers
With 70% of Indian travellers reporting that they will be turning to virtual reality next year to inspire their vacation choices, travel will enter the ever-evolving 3D virtual space of the Metaverse in 2023. With 61% of Indians keen to embark on a multi-day VR travel experience, the Metaverse will be more than ‘try before you buy’; it will educate people, opening the door for infinite adventure. Travellers will become bolder in their real-life trip choices, after being able to visit them in the Metaverse first via their online avatar. While the Metaverse will offer a new way to experience travel in the year ahead, it still won’t stop people from booking a ticket to their next destination.
3) Delight in the discomfort zone
Whether it’s bottled-up energy, a new lease on life, the world is ready to dive into other cultures and new experiences head first. 71% Indian travellers want to experience complete culture shock in 2023 – be it travelling somewhere with completely different cultural experiences and languages 63% or exploring lesser-known cities with hidden gems that aren’t already on the radar 27%. Forget the usual favourites, in 2023 Indian travellers will be seeking unique vacations that shock, surprise and delight.
4) Glamorising the good ol’ days
Amid the desire for escapism, people intend to carve out travel experiences that harken back to simpler times, with nostalgic getaways 95% that provide the thrill of reliving the glory days top of the wishlist in 2023. There’s a desire – even for millennials and Gen-Zs who never lived it – to disappear into the romanticism of a pre-digital era, with 28% of Indian travellers chasing experiences that evoke (faux) emotive memories of days gone past, such as visiting landmarks or attractions featured in iconic retro films or opting for a bus as a primary mode of transport to live the group spirit of school trips.
5) Peace and pleasure pilgrimages
Travel is set to take ‘mind, body and soul’ wellness to the next level in 2023 – a fully immersive, no-holds-barred approach to attaining peace and pleasure including less conventional ways to feel bliss. Seeking to recenter the mind, meditation and mindfulness getaways are ever popular with 70% Indian travelers while 63% aim to find peace at a silent retreat and 59% are keen to go on a health hiatus that focuses on mental health, transformative health or that helps with life milestones such as menopause or pregnancy.
6) From daily grind to great company escape
A step change from the ‘work from anywhere’ policy that are now almost as commonplace as annual leave, employees are increasingly keen to preserve vacation time for complete escapism. 75% Indians want their trips to be strictly work free in 2023, and while 64% are not interested in working while away, they would consider clocking in for a company retreat or trip. As such, travelling for business will be back in 2023.
2023 will see a rise in destination business retreats where the focus will be on strengthening relationships and corporate recreation rather than work.
7) Saving to splurge
Indian travellers in 2023 will continue to prioritise travel but will be more mindful over how to make the most of their travel budget and what takes precedence. 69% of Indian travellers will invest in a vacation as it remains a top priority for them, but being budget conscious is key, with nearly 75% Indians continuing to spotlight travel while seeking more bang for their buck.
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