New Delhi: Indians are widely opting to travel to unexplored destinations and have been quite experimental with their travelling choices, according to experts.
Alankar Chandra, co-founder and CEO of wildlife and nature tourism firm Wild Voyager, and a report by Make My Trip (online travel services firm) have pointed a few summer travel trends this year:
* Indians this summer have shown interest in travelling to previously unexplored destinations like Digha and North-East's less visited places like Gangtok, Shillong, Kalimpong and Lachung.
In the quest to explore the unmapped destinations, travellers are not hesitating before spending for offbeat destinations on international front. This includes the last remaining wilderness like Iceland and Antarctica, or locations like the Bahamas or the Caribbean islands that have so far have largely attracted the elite Europeans.
Even corporate executives and professionals are now booking luxury chalets in Switzerland or beach-houses on the Mediterranean coast -- locations that were so far the preserve of the truly rich Indians.
* More young Indians between the age group of 18-24 are travelling this summer.
* Sustainable tourism will be a major consumer demand. An increasing number of tourists is conscious of the environmental impact of international travel and enquiring about steps they can take to mitigate the impact of their travel.
A majority of urban tourists are wanting to learn about how can they leave little to no ecological footprint behind when they undertake a wildlife tour.
* Women have been increasingly taking solo or women-only trips. A growing number of international destinations are attracting women because hotels and other stakeholders have made conscious efforts to make travelling more comfortable and safe for women.
A significant number of women is stepping out of the comfort zones to have more personal and enriching travel experiences. Solo female travel is now a major trend in India regardless of her marital status.
* Wildlife photography tours are gaining popularity. While African safaris have always been on the agenda of high-end tourists, growing numbers of middle-level corporate executives are now combining wildlife safaris with guided photography tours.
There has been a dramatic rise in the number of travellers looking to experience premier wildlife destinations such as Masai Mara or Costa Rica by coupling it with wildlife and nature photography activities. Destinations like Masai Mara, Iceland, Croatia, South of Italy, Tasmania, and Madagascar are likely to remain hot this year.
* Culinary tourism is a delight for food lovers who look forward to exotic food experiences in far-away lands. Along with an enriching travel experience, lot many travellers are opting to get a taste of the local culture and kitchen. The surge in food tourism has also led to an increase in the number of specialised tour operators taking care of culinary tourism market.
While Italy, Thailand, and Japan have been hot destinations that offer the world of authentic culinary treats, Beijing is fast becoming the top global destination and ranks first on culinary tourism.