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Mon. Dec 5th, 2022
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NEW DELHI: Metaverse travel’ and ‘culture shock’ may not be the typical travel lingo one has heard before, but come 2023, these phrases, along with a clutch of others, may pepper the Indian travel scene as travel numbers jump back to pre-Covid levels and the intrepid traveller gets even more experimentative.
While camouflaged cabins, campfire cuisines and compasses are likely to be the flavour of the season according to a Booking.com research based on responses from over 24,000 travellers across 32 countries including India, a large number of Indians seem to want their travel experiences to have a more ‘back-to-basics’ feel with ‘off-grid’ experiences and a chance to learn survival skills, including — believe it or not — prepping for an apocalypse.
The ‘Creative Reimagination of Travel’ study, which predicts how people will travel in 2023 points to the ‘virtual voyagers’ — nearly 70% Indian respondents fit this category — who will turn to virtual reality (VR) to inspire their vacation choices and are keen to embark on a multi-day VR travel experience that is educational and gives them a try-before-you-buy choice.
Also, over 70% Indian travellers want ‘out of comfort zone’ travel that pushes their limits and ‘shocks, surprises and delights’. Many of these ‘culture shock’ are happy to buy one-way tickets to various destinations and follow their instinct afterwards.
The experimental instinct is not limited to the journey alone. Seeking unique experiences during their travels, while 63% Indians seek peace at a silent retreat and 59% said they would like a health hiatus that helps with life milestones like menopause and pregnancy, nearly 64% Indians say they will actively seek out ‘enhanced’ soul-stirring, spiritual experiences with the help of cannabis or plant-based psychedelics like ayahuasca and mushrooms as part of their 2023 travels.
But where there’s an appetite for psychedelics, shock and VR in holidaying, there’s also room for the good old, pre-digital age holidaying, where many, including millennials and Gen-Zs are keen to visit landmarks or attractions featured in iconic retro films, or pick bus rides as the primary mode of transport to relive school trips.

The Indian Traveller: Intrepid, Experimental

(Based on Travel Predictions 2023 research commissioned by Booking.com and conducted among 24,000 respondents across 32 countries including India)

  • 64% looking for ‘off grid’ vacations experiences but ones that don’t compromise on luxury
  • 70% want to embark on a multi-day VR travel experience before deciding their next holiday
  • 71% want ‘out of comfort zone’ travel
  • 63% want a less conventional approach to wellness by opting for a silent retreat
  • 68% want their employer to plan a ‘real life’ work trip to bring people together and build team camaraderie away from office
  • 73% want to use their travel in 2023 to learn survival skills. More eco-friendly, earthy stays to refresh burnt-out city dwellers likely
  • 71% want a “complete culture shock” in 2023 by seeking wholly unknown cultural experiences and languages or hitting the road less travelled and discover below-the-radar destinations
  • 75% want travel to be strictly work free in 2023
  • 76% believe exploring new places will inspire them to be more productive at work

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