Mumbai: Tours and Travel giant Thomas Cook India Ltd has witnessed a significant demand for Valentine’s Day--upwards of 27 per cent.
Valentine’s Day falling on a Thursday this year has allowed travel hungry Indians to take Friday off and avail of an extended weekend (a four-day break) to celebrate Valentine’s Day by travelling with loved ones.
Thomas Cook India’s data highlights that while demand for romantic destinations such as France, Switzerland, Italy, Bali, Langkawi (Malaysia), Mauritius and Maldives continues to grow, it is non-standard destinations like South Korea, Japan, Fiji, Reunion Island, Morocco, Tunisia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Greece and South Africa that are seeing significant interest.
From an India perspective, destinations like Dharamshala, Manali, Kerala, Goa, Dalhousie and Udaipur feature as favourites.
“Travel for Valentine’s Day is a strong and growing opportunity for us -- across our outbound and domestic business lines, and we have observed a significant increase of over 27 per cent this year,” said Rajeev Kale, President and Country Head for Leisure Travel and MICE at Thomas Cook India.
Interestingly, while Valentine’s Day has been viewed as a metro phenomenon, regional India’s tier 2 and 3 cities are displaying strong demand: metro/mini-metro cities (such as Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru, Pune) contributing nearly 60 per cent to Thomas Cook India’s Valentine Day bookings, with 40 per cent delivered by tier 2 and 3 cities (Kochi, Jaipur, Madurai, Lucknow, Chandigarh).
This year, Valentine’s Day has seen significant uptake from India’s millennial segment and DINK/SINK (double/single income no kids) couples; millennials leading with a 47 per cent contribution to Thomas Cook India’s booking pie.
Romantic experiences such as champagne brunches/candlelit dinners, sunset cruises and couple spas continue to be the flavour of the season, however it is unique, non-traditional experiences such as quad-biking, snorkelling, sailing trips, bungee jumping, zip lining/zorbing, kiteboarding/windsurfing, sea-plane tours, scenic self-drives that are seeing high demand -- a growth of 45 per cent against last year.
Unique culinary experiences such as vineyard tours and sampling new age wines in South Africa, cooking classes with a local chef in Malaysia or indulging in Chef Hawker Chan’s Michelin-starred street food in Singapore; outdoor and adrenalin infused experiences like a self-drive in a supercar through Tuscany’s countryside or the ultimate experience of an FI ride around the Yas Marina Circuit, an igloo stay in Finland to witness the Northern Lights, a Vespa city sightseeing tour in Singapore, a sunset cruise or kayaking along the mangroves in Abu Dhabi, a swim with the Hawksbill sea turtles off Indonesia’s Lengkuas Island and road trips including Manali and Leh have seen strong interest.
To optimise on the upcoming Valentine’s Day extended weekend, India’s travellers are capitalising on visa-free or visa-on-arrival destinations like Bali, Jordan, Thailand and Kenya and islands like Mauritius, Maldives and Seychelles.
Solo travel is also interestingly on the increase this Valentine’s Day (an increase of 20 per cent) led primarily by the millennial segment -- to celebrate their love for travel. Sizeable demand is seen from the single women’s segment and this includes travel to safe destinations such as Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Dubai-Abu Dhabi, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Shillong and Coorg -- with shopping, spa-wellness, culture and culinary experiences topping their wish list.