Saturday, April 13, 2024

‘Luxury travel in India will be redefined in 2022’ : Mayal

Luxury segment in India will scale new heights in 2022, with travelers opting for charters, secluded destinations, personalized services, and focus on wellness.

Under the leadership of its President Jyoti Mayal, the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) members aren’t just passive recipients of agendas but, by asking the right questions, they have created a space for deep reflection and strategic change.

Mayal says luxury travel will be redefined and rewritten for India. Mayal foresees luxury segment in the country to scale new heights in 2022, with travelers opting for charters, secluded destinations, personalized services, and focus on wellness.

“Luxury travel has been the most innovative last year. With closure of international borders, there was a rise in domestic travel. People explored several exotic locales in India. Based on the report we received, they visited many destinations, properties, and cities that were never on their itinerary. Surprisingly, for them, last year, they even got all amenities and best of the services at considerably lower costs. We are sure that the segment will carve a niche for itself with unmatched delivery of services,” says Mayal.

The two years of pandemic has changed the way people travel. It has also changed the way travel agents curate itineraries. “The cautious have now become the bold,” she says.

“In 2020, travelers were cautious and anxious. Except for essential travel, people were not willing to come out of their homes. In 2021, we saw a shift in mindset. People were tired of being confined to the four walls of their homes. With the introduction of vaccines, people were willing to travel more. They have learnt to adapt to new protocols of safety and hygiene. While 2020 saw the rise of staycations and drivecations 2021 was the year people gained confidence to travel by air and explore destinations beyond drivable distances.

“Last year, we saw the emergence of small conferences, meetings, and weddings. 2022 will only see an increase in demand,” said Mayal, adding that the focus this year will be on luxury, wellness, adventure, and sustainable tourism.

The TAAI chief added that the travel industry needs to work together as a community to thrive in the pandemic era.

“Travelers will look up to travel agents for better guidance and accurate information. We need to make sure that we as an industry work with greater coordination to offer reliable services.”

According to the TAAI chief, 2022 will also see fewer advance bookings. Travelers will look for easy, no-cost cancellation policies. 

Rajeev Kale, President & Country Head – Holidays, MICE, Visa, Thomas Cook India agrees that  travelers are showing interest in luxurious experiences.

“With easing restrictions, reopening of international borders and acceptance of vaccines, we saw a significant pent-up demand for luxury travel for both domestic and international destinations.”

Affluent travelers are opting for premium experiences, which includes personalized services, gourmet meals, and exceptional aesthetics. “The top-of-the-world experiences can be anything, from dining at a Michelin-starred restaurant to staying at a private island surrounded by water, travelling by private jet, staying at luxury villas inside a vineyard, spending holidays at a 1000-year-old Italian castle, customized yacht trips and onboard a luxury cruise ship,” explained Kale.

Forecasting a surge in luxury travel in 2022, he added that, besides the regular spa and wellness getaways, there will be a demand for private escapes, branded residences, and pet-friendly travel.

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