2020 has been a difficult year for travel-hungry people. Now, that things have opened and people are now travelling with complete safety, it seems that travelling scene in 2021 will not be that grim. A survey revealed that 57% of Indians have planned their next vacation for early 2021. Also Read - Now, Gaze at Mars, Venus and Stars as Night-Sky Tourism Kicks Off in Jaipur

The survey conducted by ZestMoney, an AI-driven EMI financing and “Buy Now Pay Later” (“Pay Later”) platform, released the findings from a customer survey conducted to understand how Indians are shaping up their travel plans for the coming year. The survey was conducted with a sample of 4600 respondents across key metros and Tier II/III cities in India. Also Read - AirAsia India Extends Its Flash Sale Till January 22nd

The survey reveals that while over 75% of respondents did not take a vacation in the last three months, over 57% are planning their next leisure travel in early 2021. Interestingly, an increasing number of people want to opt for domestic travel. Within India, Goa (53.1%), followed by Kerala (32.9%), and Shimla (31.4%) ranked high on the travel bucket list. Ladakh, Kashmir, Jaipur, Agra, and Mysore were the other popular destinations. Also Read - India's First Air Taxi Service Begins From Haryana, Centre Plans to Bring More Such Facilities Soon

With the pandemic taking a hit on finances, travellers have slashed their discretionary spends, including those on leisure activities. Over 44% believed that their holiday and travel budgets have been impacted.

Interestingly, Pay Later solutions are becoming popular as a financing option, with 55% of respondents saying they would opt for EMIs or Buy Now, Pay Later option to fund their next personal trip.

Commenting on the trend, Lizzie Chapman, CEO & Co-founder at ZestMoney said, “The pandemic had halted leisure travel for many travel enthusiasts over the past year as they restrained their discretionary spends and focussed on savings. With the phased reopening across cities, consumers are gradually planning their vacations for the coming year. It’s heartening to see that Buy Now, Pay Later is emerging as one of the preferred options to fund travel plans. The solution not only offers greater flexibility and convenience in managing expenses but is financially efficient too.”

“At ZestMoney, we have seen a gradual uptick for the category with staycations, tour packages and domestic air travel driving the demand. We are witnessing a 50% month-on-month growth in customers opting for the Pay Later solution for the travel vertical on the platform,” added Chapman.

Some of the other findings of the survey were as follows:

• Over 45% of respondents said they would prefer local travel destinations and staycations over international travel in 2021; while ~ 60% of respondents preferred interstate, travel compared to travelling within the state or internationally

• ~42% of respondents said that they would prefer travelling by their personal car, overflights or trains

• ~60% said that they would opt for a hotel over a homestay while picking accommodation for their next trip
• Safety & hygiene ranked as a top criterion (~74%) while selecting a travel destination