Only 19% citizens say they will undertake festive travel this year
- • Of those traveling, only 23% say they will travel by a flight
- • Car/taxi expected to be most preferred mode of travel
- • Most do not want to make their booking closer to the travel date
September 7, 2020, New Delhi: August and September each year are the travel booking months for citizens in India. With Durga Puja, Dussehra, Diwali and Chhath festival all typically falling in October-November, people in many parts of India, plan their travel back home or vacations during this time. This year however, looks drastically different due to the fast spreading COVID-19 pandemic, lockdowns, Unlocks and just a lot of caution amongst people. India crossed the 4 million case mark on Friday Sep 4th with daily case load approximately rising to 90,000.
Though India opened domestic air and train travel in June the daily case load has grown by 10 times during this period. The Unlock 4.0 came into effect on 1st September with quarantine restrictions now removed by most states, many continue to be cautious and unwilling to travel.
LocalCircles conducted a survey to get citizen pulse on how people in India are planning to travel in the upcoming festive season, given the current situation with COVID-19. The survey received over 25,000 responses from people located in 239 districts of India.
In the first question, citizens were asked about the kind of travel they plan to undertake in the upcoming festive season, that is between Oct-Nov-Dec 2020. 69% respondents said that they will not be travelling this year and would stay at home. 3% said they will travel to a holiday destination, 13% said they will visit family & friend, while another 3% said they will do both. 12% were unsure about what they would do.
Only 19% citizens say they will travel this festive season(Oct-Dec 20)
This means that only 19% citizens say they will travel in the upcoming festive season between Oct-Dec 2020. Many people have either been confined to their homes or have been working from home for the past 6 months and are desperate to get out and travel, but the fear of contracting the virus is pulling them back.
When asked about their preferred mode of travel, 23% said their primary mode of travel will be flights, 6% said trains and 38% said they will travel by road and take a car or taxi. 18% said they will take multiple modes in the same or different trips. 15% were unsure.
Highest percentage of travelers this festive season will travel by car/taxi in light of the COVID-19 pandemic
Given the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, it looks like car/taxi would be the most preferred mode of travel in the months when the country sees highest number of travellers. Scheduled international commercial passenger flights have been banned by the Government further till the 30th September and many states within India also have been restricting the daily number of flights or flights coming in from certain states to contain the spread of the infection. However, flight under the Vande Bharat Mission and under the air-bubbles created with countries like USA, France, Germany, Canada, UK, other European and Gulf countries continue to operate.
When asked if they had booked their travel for this festive season, a majority 68% said “no and said they will not book till closer to the travel date”. 16% said “no but will book soon” and 16% were still unsure about it.
Indians sceptical about festive travel this year, haven’t booked and majority won’t book till it gets closer to travel date
Train booking in India is opened 120 days prior to departure and in normal times are usually sold out within a couple of days during this time before the festive season. But given the COVID-19 situation in the country and close to 90,000 cases being reported every day, many want to stay put in their homes and avoid travel as much as possible. With most states relaxing the norms and opening their borders for tourists, people believe traveling with their family by a car or taxi would be much safer than travelling by a flight or by train in this fast spreading pandemic.
Based on the survey findings, service providers in the road transportation sector may want to build capacity to seize the festival demand uptick. Similarly, online travel portals may want to consider more providers for outstation rental cars and taxi services. Airlines and Indian Railways may need to carefully evaluate any capacity increases they may be planning keeping in mind the survey findings and the spread of COVID-19 in September.
25,000+ responses were received across 239 districts of India. 66% respondents were men while 34% respondents were women. 61% respondents were from tier 1, 28% from tier 2 and 11% respondents were from tier 3, 4 and rural districts. They survey was conducted via LocalCircles platform and all participants are validated citizens who had to be registered with LocalCircles to participate in this survey.