Srinagar: Tourism players have something to cheer about after a new study revealed that domestic travel is likely to pick up by the end of this year.

A joint study conducted by the world’s leading travel planners- Thomas Cook India and SOTC Travel Limited –has revealed that domestic travel is likely to pick up after the COVID -19 lockdown ends later this year.

An overwhelming number of globetrotters have Kashmir expedition in their bucket-list apart from other preferred destinations including Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh, Kerala, North-east, and Goa.

According to the Holiday Readiness Report- Future of Travel post-COVID, 64 percent of the respondents are inclined towards a domestic holiday and 36 percent wish for an international vacation.

Thomas Cook India and SOTC Travel Ltd surveyed over 2500 consumers across India’s metropolitan, and Tier 1 and 2 cities including Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Bengaluru, Kolkatta, Hyderabad, Pune, Lucknow, Guwahati, Surat, Vizag, Indore, Jaipur, and other places.

According to the survey, tourism is set to rebound as consumer behavior reflects an urge to pack bags after the end of lockdown.

In the survey, backpackers have mostly desired to visit Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh.

Thirty-six percent of people prefer to visit Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi.

The survey revealed 72 percent of the respondents prefer reputed tour operators, hotel chains, and other services.

The findings of the survey indicate that the lockdown has changed the recreational preferences of travelers as 67 percent of the respondents want pocket-friendly holidays of Rs 1 lakh per person.

According to the report, 63 percent of the respondents are willing to travel solo, while the remaining prefers to visit in small or large groups.

 “It is very difficult to witness footfall this year. We hope that the arrivals to start after the end of the lockdown,” said Umar Ahmad, a travel agent at Srinagar.

 Director of Tourism Department, Kashmir, Nisar Ahmad Wani said they are chalking out a programme for the coming tourist season.

“Right now we are busy with making brochures, renewal of licenses of travel agencies, and making a list of programmes for attracting tourists,” he said.

 Kashmir tourism has suffered huge losses since August 5 last year when the government abrogated article 370.

On August 2, the government had issued an advisory for tourists to curtail their visit. The advisory was lifted on October 10. However, tourism failed to take off due to the lack of internet connectivity.

 This year, tourism could not pick up due to the COVID lockdown announced on March 21.

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Presently Senior reporter at The Kashmir Monitor with an experience of nine years in reporting business, crime, defense, politics and environment.Have also contributed to reputed media organizations including First Post, India Spend, Forbes India

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