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Tour operators need to curate new itineraries to attract an incredibly important group of travelers who crave exploration and meaningful connections.

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A recent study by travel fintech start-up SanKash has revealed that there has been a whopping 250% surge in solo travel at the start of this year. Travelers are inclined to explore not only themselves but the world at their own pace and preference, without feeling swayed by the whims of fellow travelers, the report said. 

“Post-pandemic, millennials want to indulge in budget-friendly and stress-free travel experiences. The travel and tourism industry is showing a strong rebound, and the amount of bookings we have received is testimony to that,” said Akash Dahiya, co-founder and CEO of SanKash.

Jammu and Kashmir, Manali and Shimla emerged as the most preferred destinations for solo travelers, the report said. Mussoorie, Sikkim and Goa followed next, with bookings clocking in at 9%, 7%, and 5%, respectively.

Last week, booking data from online travel company Ixigo also revealed that solo traveler bookings this year witnessed a 62% increase compared to last year. 

Additionally, the summer travel landscape from India has also been witnessing a shift towards more immersive experiences with travelers seeking relaxed itineraries. As a result, online travel company MakeMyTrip noted that the average room nights booked for both domestic and international packages have significantly increased, compared to previous years. 

Accor Signs Mercure Bhubaneswar, To Open Doors in 2025

Hotel operator Accor has signed a 98-room Mercure Bhubaneswar in the eastern state of Odisha, scheduled to open in 2025. Specbru Hotels, part of Spectrum Group, which has a diversified interest in real estate, construction and hospitality businesses in Odisha, will develop the property.

Last year, Accor announced plans to open mid-level hotels across metros and budget brands in tier-2 and tier-3 cities in India. With a pipeline of 25 properties under development, the company aims to have more than 100 hotels by 2027 in the country. Accor currently operates 58 properties in India, under the Raffles, Fairmont, Sofitel, Pullman, Grand Mercure, Novotel, Mercure and ibis brands. Early in May, Accor opened a 93-room Novotel Jodhpur ITI Circle in the north Indian state of Rajasthan.

Air India Express Launches ‘Xpress Ahead’ Services to Cut Flyers’ Wait Time

Tata Group-owned Air India’s low-cost carrier subsidiary Air India Express has unveiled its priority services, ‘Xpress Ahead,’ for guests to ensure a seamless journey from check-in to landing at a nominal fee. This includes premium services like a dedicated check-in counter at the airport, priority baggage handling, priority boarding and expedited baggage delivery upon arrival.

Xpress Ahead services are currently available for purchase at the airport check-in counter until the counter closure time. Additionally, for domestic travel, guests flying with sister Air India group airline, AirAsia India have the option to pre-book the service on the mobile app, or the consolidated airline website airindiaexpress.com or at all domestic airports. 

Boeing to Source More Aircraft Parts From India

Boeing is increasing sourcing of aircraft components from India, and is also exploring the potential to set up a manufacturing unit to tap the opportunities offered by the fastest-growing aviation market, said Boeing India President Salil Gupte.

Boeing and European rival Airbus have together received firm orders for 970 aircraft worth $120 billion in the past four months from Tata group-owned Air India and budget carrier IndiGo. Boeing has also received an order from India’s newest airline Akasa Air for four additional Boeing 737-8 jets, which are to be delivered in the next four years. Last month, the company also announced an investment of $100 million in infrastructure and pilot training programs in India.

Kerala Draws Up Strategy to Attract Arab Tourists During Monsoon

The southern state of Kerala is readying a marketing campaign aimed at wooing travelers from the Gulf region during July and August. The state government has sanctioned $854,273 to conduct the campaign focusing on airports at Dubai and Doha, the state tourism department said in a release. 

Kerala Tourism showcased its products and themes in Dubai during the 30th edition of Arabian Travel Market and conducted roadshows in Riyadh, Dammam and Muscat. Tourism Minister P.A. Mohamed Riyas said Kerala, having clocked a record arrival of domestic tourists, now wants to steeply raise the number of foreign tourists. Kerala Tourism also plans to work out attractive packages for Arab tourists, who often turn up in large groups and spend their vacation in specific destinations, the release said. 

Indian Hotels Company’s SeleQtions Hotel Debuts in Bhubaneswar

Tata Group-owned Indian Hotels Company (IHCL) has opened The Crown, Bhubaneswar – IHCL SeleQtions hotel in the eastern state of Odisha. The 81-key hotel is located at a short driving distance to Biju Patnaik International Airport. With the addition of this hotel, IHCL will have six hotels in the state across brands including two under development.

Just last week, the company opened a 90-key Vivanta Jammu, City Centre in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir and signed a management contract with realty developer Ambuja Neotia Group for a 155-room Taj Ganga Kutir Resort & Spa in Raichak in the eastern state of West Bengal. IHCL plans to reach a portfolio of 300 hotels by 2025.

Indians Secure Second Spot in Most Confident Asia-Pacific Travelers  

Despite economic challenges, 86% of Indian travelers are optimistic about their future travel plans, while 61% have no intention of postponing their travel plans in the next 12 months, according to Booking.com’s latest edition of the Asia Pacific Travel Confidence Index. Of the 11 Asia Pacific markets surveyed, India emerges as the country with the second-most confident travelers, closely behind Hong Kong, the company said in a statement. 

“Along with the high travel confidence that places India among the top three countries, Indian travelers are also most keen to prioritize sustainable travel,” said Santosh Kumar, country manager for India, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Indonesia at Booking.com.

Indian travelers have a stronger inclination to explore their own country (43%), believe in the power of travel for personal growth (40%) and have the desire to foster meaningful connections on their travels (33%). Three in five would prefer to travel during the long weekend holidays with a majority wanting to travel to north or south India. When it comes to travel experiences, Indians like to seek out nature and scenic locations, followed by beaches and food. 

Spree Hospitality Signs a New Property in Vellore

Online travel platform EaseMyTrip-owned hotel company Spree Hospitality has signed a second property in Vellore in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. The 46-room hotel is scheduled to open doors in March 2024.

Over the past three months, the company opened a 34-key Spree One Resort & Convention in Annavaram in Andhra Pradesh and a 60-room Zip by Spree Hotels Purple Orchid in Bengaluru. Spree Hospitality, which currently operates over 30 hotels under Spree and Zip by Spree brands, across India, is set to add 10 new properties in the next few months and 50 by the end of next financial year. 

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Tags: accor, air india, Boeing, booking.com, easemytrip, india, Indian Hotels Company, kerala, skift india report, solo travel

Photo credit: There has been a whopping 250% surge in solo travel this summer. Gaurav K / Unsplash

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