Cleartrip, one of India’s leading travel and leisure activities platforms, recently mapped its platform data to reveal major travel trends from 2018. The latest Cleartrip report accounted for both domestic and international travel and pointed towards several interesting trends and shifting customer behaviour observed during the year.

Fares trends: According to the Cleartrip data, domestic fares were 3% lower overall than last year, while on the international front, fares were higher by around 6% overall. Visiting South America was cheaper by 16% this year while visiting Africa and Oceania were more expensive by 5% and 10% respectively.

Rise of spontaneous travel: With spontaneous travel emerging as a popular trend among Indian travellers, the demand for close-in bookings certainly exploded in 2018. The year registered a 48% y-o-y increase in last minute bookings.45% of the bookings made in 2018 were last minute bookings made within 7 days of travel. The same was 40% in 2017.

What trended this year? In terms of leisure travel, the top destinations in India were Ahmedabad, Goa, Kochi, Jaipur, Guwahati, Vishakhapatnam, and Coimbatore. The Middle-East led the pack in terms of the ‘most travelled to’ international region in 2018, followed by the rest of Asia and the SAARC regions in the second and third spots, respectively.

Inclination for short haul: The weak rupee value for many months in the year further propelled short haul bookings during the year. The top international destination that saw Indians travelling across seasons this year was Dubai. Other top most-booked international destinations in 2018 included Singapore, Bangkok, Kathmandu, Colombo, Dhaka, London, Sharjah, Kuala Lumpur, and Doha.

What did these travellers do? With local activities, simplifying the discovery and attainment of novel experiences (an offering extended by Cleartrip to SEA and Europe this year), Cleartrip identified the top activities that travellers engaged in. Once at the destination the most booked activities included the visit to Universal Studios and S.E.A. Aquarium, Sentosa in Singapore, Burj Khalifa and Dubai Aquarium in Dubai, Alcazar Cabaret and Underwater World in Pattaya, and Ferrari World and Desert Safari in Abu Dhabi.

Top growth destinations: Interestingly, there was significant growth in the number of Indian travellers flocking to less-frequented destinations as well. South America was the highest growth region among international travel bookings from India. Leading growth destinations across the globe included Manama (72%), Denpasar (47%), Kuwait City (42%), and Colombo (40%).

Debit card payments gained ground: Cleartrip also recorded an increase in the use of debit cards for making travel bookings. According to the data gathered, debit cards gained a 32% payments share in 2018, a percentage that has increased substantially from 25% in 2017.

The aforementioned developments are indicative of the fact that the Indian traveller is evolving with long-standing trends, redefining the future of the country’s travel industry in the process.

Speaking on the changing dynamics within the travel industry, Balu Ramachandran, Head of Air and Distribution, Cleartrip, said, “With the capacity inductions from all airlines, and the financial pressures faced by the increased oil prices and depreciating rupee, 2018 has been an interesting year for the airlines industry and consumers have seen drastic changes in pricing for their travel. There were some excellent deals to be had and generally last minute travel was more expensive than last year especially during the festive period. Time and money are vital currencies, and Cleartrip has been working towards helping its customers realize the maximum value for both with accurate and detailed information.”