Compared to 2022, people all across the world are feeling significantly more hopeful about travelling in 2023, and despite some present global turmoil, over 72% believe that travelling will always be worthwhile. The atmosphere is changing from one of cautious optimism to one of brave flexibility. In contrast to 2022, when travel made a triumphant comeback, 2023 will be about rethinking travel in innovative ways among the upheaval. Everyone will be trying to strike the perfect balance in a contradictory environment, thus nothing will be off limits and everything will be on the menu.
Seven developing travel predictions have been made by Booking.com, a leading digital travel company, using extensive research with more than 24,000 travellers from 32 countries and territories, including India, to understand how travel would be reimagined in 2023.
People are finding themselves in a multi-directional tug-of-war, attempting to balance what is important to them with the demands of daily life, during a time of general upheaval in which war, increased societal polarization, rising inflation, and urgent concerns about climate change are all continuing to radically change the world. This sentiment is reflected in the travel predictions for 2023, which show that travelers’ needs are shifting in many different directions to keep up with the times.
- Preppers in Paradise: In 2023, being off the grid will be more desirable than ever. Prepare with camouflaged homes, campfire food, and compasses. In order to disconnect from reality, switch off, and experience life with little more than the necessities, 64% of Indian travellers want their travel experiences to have a more “back to basics” sense. These travellers are continuously looking for “off-grid” style vacations. 73% of Indian travellers are also eager to take advantage of travel in 2023 to improve their survival abilities. Expect to see more eco-friendly, earthy hotels opening up to serve urbanite travellers looking for simplicity as well as hotels that provide advice on how to become more self-sufficient for Indian tourists. Though ‘off-grid’ won’t necessarily imply roughing it in 2023. There is a widespread misconception that word implies generosity.However, there is a strong desire to mix the two, with 65% of Indian travellers only considering travelling “off-grid” if it can be at a more luxurious hotel. There is a frequent idea that this entails giving up comforts (67% of Indian travellers believe such).
2. Virtual Voyagers: Travel will enter the ever-evolving 3D virtual world of the Metaverse in 2023, according to 70% of Indian travellers who said they will use virtual reality to inform their travel decisions the following year. The Metaverse will be more than a “try before you buy” experience since 61% of Indians are eager to travel in virtual reality for several days; it will educate people and provide a gateway to endless adventure. After being able to see them in the Metaverse via their online avatar, visitors will be more daring in their real-world travel decisions. Even if the Metaverse will provide a novel travel experience in the coming year, consumers will still buy tickets to their next vacation.
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3. Delight in the Discomfort Zone: Enjoy the Uncomfortable Zone: Whether it’s bottled-up energy or a fresh start, the world is prepared to plunge headfirst into other cultures and novel experiences. In 2023, 71% of Indian travellers want to undergo a complete culture shock, whether it is by visiting a place with entirely different cultural experiences and languages (63%), or by seeing lesser-known locations with undiscovered jewels (27%). Forget about the traditional favourites; in 2023, Indian tourists will seek out uncommon vacations that astonish, amaze, and thrill them. There will be an increase in specialised experiences pushing people to push their travel adventures to the limit. 96% of Indian travellers look forward to experiencing “out of comfort zone” travel that challenges them to their boundaries. Unsurprisingly, this “culture-shook” Indian traveller also enjoys putting prudence to the test; in fact, 46% of them plan to purchase a one-way ticket in 2023 and go wherever their instincts lead them.
4. Glamorizing the Good ol’ Days: In the midst of their yearning for escape, people aim to create travel memories that transport them to a simpler period. In 2023, 95% of travellers say they want to take trips that will give them the chance to relive their glory years. There is a desire to vanish into the romanticism of a pre-digital era, even among millennials and Gen-Z who were not alive during that time. 28% of Indian travellers seek out experiences that evoke (faux) emotive memories of days gone by, such as visiting locations or attractions featured in iconic retro films or choosing a bus as their main mode of transportation to emulate the spirit of school trips.Travelers are no longer sacrificing play in favour of rest and relaxation, with 76% of Indians seeking out the thrill of theme parks and using their imaginations to participate in escape rooms, scavenger hunts, and building forts out of enormous building blocks, among other activities. In 2023, “family reunion” multi-generational trips will be the most popular type of travel, and millennial travellers will be the first to book accommodations with emerging era themes that take them back to a time they hold dear.
5. Peace and Pleasure Pilgrimages: In 2023, travel is expected to push the boundaries of “mind, body, and soul” wellness with a completely immersive, no-holds-barred approach to finding peace and pleasure that includes unconventional ways to experience joy. 70% of Indian tourists seek to refocus their minds through meditation and mindfulness retreats, while 63% seek tranquilly at a silent retreat and 59% are eager to take a health break that focuses on mental health, transformative health, or that helps with life milestones like menopause or pregnancy.
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Alternative drugs like cannabis or plant-based psychedelics like ayahuasca or mushrooms will become more widely available for individuals seeking enhanced spiritual experiences to stir the soul, with 64% of travellers eager to enjoy this type of experimental wellness encounter as part of their 2023 travels.
6. From the Daily Grind to the Great Company Escape: Employees are more eager to protect vacation time for total escapism, which is a major change from the “work from anywhere” policies that are now almost as popular as yearly leave. In 2023, 75% of Indians want their vacations to be completely free of work, and while 64% of them don’t want to work while they’re away, they could contemplate reporting for duty during a company retreat or trip. As a result, business travel will resume in 2023.
Destination business retreats, where the emphasis is on fostering relationships and corporate entertainment rather than work, will become more popular in 2023. In fact, 69% of the Indian workforce would like to see their employer use the money saved from the shift to remote/hybrid working models spent on corporate travel or retreats. 68% of the Indian workforce is looking forward to their employer planning a “real life” work trip to bring people together. Businesses stand to gain as a result, as 76% of Indians feel travelling will motivate them to be more productive at work.
7. Saving to Splurge: Travel will still be a top priority for Indian travellers in 2023, but they will be more conscientious about how to get the most out of their travel budget and what comes first. While investing in a trip is still a high priority for 69% of Indian travellers, being frugal is crucial, with over 75% of Indians continuing to prioritise travel while looking for more bang for their dollars.
Budget-conscious itinerary planning will be at its pinnacle in 2023, when travellers will prioritise value for money by taking advantage of discounts and loyalty programmes, using offers and hacks, and travelling at strategically advantageous times. Indians will consider lengthier or off-season routes in order to save money in 69% of cases, while 72% will plan their trips more in advance in an effort to get a better price. 71% of people say that booking one or two longer holidays rather than multiple shorter ones is the best use of their money.
In this context, it’s also striking to see how willing Indian tourists are to increase their spending – and even splurge – on the parts of their vacation that are most important to them. To make up for the fact that they haven’t travelled much lately, 70% admit they would indulge more in their spending when on vacation, while 67% say they will spend lavishly to make the most of their time away and ensure that every experience is worthwhile.
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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.”
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