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Here Are Some Sobering Facts About How Indians Vacation, To Curb Your FOMO

Hardly anyone flies, and very few even leave their own state.

19/05/2017 5:36 PM IST | Updated 19/05/2017 5:36 PM IST
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Beautiful Curvy roads on Old Silk Route, Silk trading route between China and India, Sikkim

Is Facebook making you feel like everyone is on an exotic vacation? Fear not, Indian national data is always there to let you know that you're still the 1%.

India had an estimated 18 million international departures in 2014, which includes people going to study, work and holiday, and can include multiple trips by the same person but even that generous estimate implies that about 1.5% of Indians travelled overseas that year.

Data on domestic tourism comes from the National Sample Survey Office whose latest tourism data is from 2014-15. Travel in this case is defined as an overnight trip away from home. In all, fewer than 2% of households reported having taken an overnight trip for leisure, medical purposes or shopping during the past year.

(A brief complaint about the data: In this round, the NSSO counts travel in two ways--it asks households about any travel for leisure, medical purposes or shopping that they did over the previous year, and any travel for business, social activities, education and religious pilgrimages over the previous month. This makes it a bit hard to compare travel for different purposes over the same period--in its previous round in 2008-09, for instance, social visits accounted for 74% of travel, followed by pilgrimages. Trips for 'holidaying, leisure and recreation' accounted for just 2.8%.)

All that we can say while comparing the purpose of travel this time, is that social visits still account for the most travel, and that twice as many Indians travel for medical purposes as those who travel for leisure. In urban India, more people vacation than travel for medical purposes but in rural India, there are more than three times as many medical tourists as there are leisure tourists.)

Maharashtrians are the biggest holiday-goers (travel for leisure).

But for the most part, Indians holiday within their own state; over 80% of all vacations and travel for shopping or medical purposes was within the same state. Uttar Pradesh, followed by Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu, had the most visiting out-of-state vacationers.

The majority of both rural and urban Indians still stay with friends or relatives while vacationing; just 13% of rural Indians and 40% of urban Indians stay in hotels while on leisure holidays.

The summer holidays, followed by the October Diwali break are the busiest times for holiday-makers in India, with over a third of all vacations taken between April and June.

The vast majority of vacation travel in rural India is through buses which account for 65% of all holiday trips, while in urban India buses come second to trains, which account for 40% of all leisure trips. Flights account for less than 2% of urban travel and just 0.1% of rural travel.

The average Indian spends around Rs6,358 for each vacation, and the average vacation is about five days long. Transport takes up over a quarter of expenses. Spending on vacations has more than doubled since 2008-09, the last time the NSSO collected such data. The biggest increases, however, have been in the amount that Indians spend on travel for shopping and for medical purposes, both more than tripling in the seven year period.

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