Thomas Cook India & SOTC survey reveals significant travel intent for last quarter 2021: UAE & Expo 2020 a key driver

Thomas Cook India, India’s leading integrated travel services company, and its Group Company SOTC Travel Ltd., have jointly surveyed over 2500 customers across India’s key metros like Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Chennai and mini-metros like Pune and Tier 2 & 3 source markets, including Jaipur, Lucknow, Madurai, Kochi, Indore, Cuttack, Nagpur, Ahmedabad and Surat. The survey reveals insightful customer data, behaviour and travel trends with UAE (Dubai-Abu Dhabi) and Expo 2020 Dubai emerging as a clear driver of international demand for Q4 2021:

·         Significant Travel Desire: 85% of respondents keen to travel (77% International, 61% domestic)

·         Over 60% indicate clear intent to visit UAE with Expo 2020 Dubai topping the leader board of favourites; also cricket fixtures of IPL & T20

With re-opening of borders, vaccine acceptance/easing of restrictions, Indians are displaying strong travel appetite for UAE (Dubai & Abu Dhabi).Expo 2020 Dubai, starting October 1, 2021 and continuing upto March 31, 2022, has created a significant opportunity – with over 47% of respondents indicating keen interest to visit the event atleast once this year.

Demand for Expo 2020 Dubai extends across a range of segments:

·         Business Travellers (MNCs, India corporate houses, SMEs) & Trade Associations: 15%

·         MICE Travellers: 25%

·         Leisure Travellers (Families/ Extended families, Couples, Millennials, Seniors): 45%

·         Education: 15%

No. of Visits &Duration of Stay:

·         47% respondents are likely to visit Expo 2020 atleast once between October – December 2021

·         57% respondents indicated they would visit the Expo more than once (Oct 2021 – March 2022)

·         Average duration of stay: ranges from 4 – 7 nights

Willingness to Spend:

·         Approx. Rs. 70,000 for a trip of 4 nights to upward of Rs. 250,000 per person for luxury products

Customer Wishlist: Top Activities/Experiences at Expo 2020 Dubai:

·         Business: Automation presentations/launches, Sustainability ideation, Architectural innovations, Seminars & Summits, Business engagements

·         MICE: Networking, Award ceremonies & Gala Business Events

·         Families: Mars-inspired playground, penguin robots, an array of fun activity like an exciting transparent slide, children menus and family-friendly dining options, extravagant fireworks

·         Couples: Future of space travel, driverless cars, exciting acrobatic and opera shows, robotic bands, walk through waterfalls, rivers, mangroves, and wander through streets of famous world cities

·         Millennials: Workshops by world-renowned chefs, Futuristic Culinary Experiences – Lunch with robots, sensory engagement with innovative technologies, Virgin Hyperloop One simulator experience, healthcare innovations, A.R. Rahman’s Firdaus Orchestra, Expo Beats – shows & performances, Late Nights @ Expo (every Thursday & Friday) & Jalsat @ Expo for people & artists from across the world

Mr. Rajeev Kale, President & Country Head – Holidays, MICE, Visa, Thomas Cook (India) Limited said, “Our survey highlights strong travel demand for the last quarter 2021, with 60% customers indicating UAE with Expo 2020 Dubai as their top preference; followed by the cricket fixtures of IPL/T20. The survey further reveals strong appeal across range of traveller segments – from India’s millennials, families, students, and business to our MICE corporate and across India’s metros as well as Tier2-3 source markets. For industry associations and businesses, Expo 2020 Dubai offers an invaluable platform for ideation, R&D, business and networking. MICE being a strong segment driver, we have designed unique programmes – tailor made and co-curated based on the interests of specific corporates across Insurance, Automobile, Pharma, e-Commerce, Start-ups & Trade Associations. We are also seeing interest in gala dinners and events at the Expo site itself. In addition to Expo 2020, the exciting cricket fixtures of the T20 World Cup & IPL, have allowed us to combine the two opportunities with a compelling product for the India market.”

Mr. Daniel D’souza President & Country Head, SOTC Travel said, “As per our survey there is an encouraging travel desire and confidence amongst customers pan-India. The survey reveals positive interest for families to witness this once-in-a-lifetime global mega-event. Expo 2020 Dubai, length of stay trends highlight, customers are looking at longer stay compared to short trips in the past. Over 57% of respondents said they would visit the Expo again along with an increased willingness to spend.

He added, with significant interest for a 4 – 7 nights stay, we have curated attractive 5 and 6 nights Expo itineraries with Single Day/ Multi Day Tickets included along with a Guided Tour of Expo on some itineraries. Our offers also include experiences like Sundowner Yacht Cruise, Ain Dubai, Pink Limousine Rides, Dubai Museum, Bridge & Heritage tour of the QE II amongst others and Luxury experiences like, hi-tea at the BurjKhalifa, desert camping and a VIP Desert Safari with a Private Butler are also part of our offers. To reassure customers, our products are inbuilt with TravShield – comprehensive Safety Commitment & Assured Safe Travel Program in association with Apollo Clinics.”

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