Here's What To Expect From Domestic Travel In 2023

Meaningful vacations with family, unique culinary and adventure experiences and offbeat local stays--explore India like never before.

Published On Jan 25, 2023 | Updated On Feb 27, 2024

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If 2022 marked the return of travel, 2023 will be all about reimagining travel, and taking it a notch higher. Travellers have moved from flocking to touristy spots and luxurious hotels to rediscovering the small joys of relaxed homestays in far-off villages, nature trails, and curated local culinary experiences.

To understand how domestic travel will be reimagined in 2023, we spoke to experts, guides and professionals from online travel booking websites. Here’s what they have to say about the emerging domestic travel trends based on their extensive research across the country.

According to an Airbnb survey, this winter, beach destinations, hills of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand as well as the country’s north-eastern region (especially Meghalaya, Nagaland and Assam) have been a popular choice among Indian travellers.

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Maharashtra, Karnataka, Delhi, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Pondicherry, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Rajasthan have been the most searched domestic destinations on Airbnb. They are in favour because of their iconic cities, national parks and beaches.

The report also stresses how treehouses, houseboats and farm stays have taken over the cliched ‘room with a view’ choice, with sustainability as the main focus. Travellers are looking for premium packages to support sustainable tourism practices and local communities.

Travel isn’t about hitting the touristy spots anymore. Instead, travellers are looking for experiential holidays. Samyukta Ranganathan, founder at Urbanaut, a travel recommendation and guide app, says, “They no longer want the usual offerings, but are seeking out unique culinary and adventurous experiences like a waterfall visit or a feni tasting or an immersive cultural experience.”

In fact, people want to derive meaning from their holidays. “I think Instagram is taking a backseat,” notes Ranganathan. “People no longer want to really share everything on social media but they want to have a special and meaningful holiday that would be worthy of sharing (but better to keep secret),” she adds.

“In domestic travel, there are wonderful entrepreneurs in the travel space who are offering experiences like agri-tourism, boutique stays, walking holidays, unique culinary experiences and much more. The supply of these will soon match this crazy demand from travellers,” she informs.

So today's traveller is not looking to really get into sightseeing but is more inclined towards exploring the places as a whole. Kedar Borker, co-founder of Soul Travelling, a Goa-based travel guide that specialises in offbeat tourism and curating unique experiences in Goa around nature, heritage, food, architecture, and culture, says, “Travellers are trying to understand the story behind how this place came about, the culinary aspect of this place, how the local community stays, the traditions, the heritage, the folk culture, etc. Today travel is about going beyond and enjoying every piece of a particular place.”

Travellers are looking for experiences which are immersive in nature which help them connect with the local community and experiences which they have not had in the past and which are very specific to that particular place. Kedar explains, “For example, you can do water sports across any country or state. However, the taste of food is very particular to the place and cannot be had anywhere else.”

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One of the biggest learnings from the pandemic has been the importance of family and strengthening relationships like never before. Krishna Rathi, country director for India, Sri Lanka and Nepal at Agoda, says, “The year 2023 shifts the needle from wanting to travel, to travelling together. Our findings as per Agoda’s Travel Trend Survey 2022 indicate a strong desire to travel with family, with one out of every seven respondents from India, inclined to take even two or more trips with extended family. In fact, India emerged as the second highest responding country, after the Philippines, with such a passionate preference to travel jointly. The data also suggests an affinity towards budget-friendly hotels amongst Indians (44%), which make it simpler and comfortable to bring everyone under one roof.”
 


Photo: Shutterstock

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