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Bhaji on the beach? We are like that only, say Indians: Expedia study

May 22 2012: While the quintessential global traveller relaxes on a beach, Indiansprefer beach vacations with ‘new experiences’. They also take friends and parents along. They lead  the world when it comes to massage, surfing or beach dining on their  sand filled holidays.
These are some of the eyebrow raising findings of a survey and analysis of the of behavior and preferences among beachgoers in Asia, North America, South America, Europe and Australia, conducted by Expedia, the world’s largest online travel agency. Called the 2012 Flip Flop Report ( Flip flop beach sandals or what we in India call Hawaii chappals, see!), it was conducted by Harris Interactive, on behalf of Expedia, from February 14 to March 21, 2012, among more than 8,000 adults in 21 countries.

“The survey reveals that as opposed to the general perception of high price sensitivity, the most important criteria for Indians to decide on a beach vacation is food and beverage reputation as well as the novelty of the destination,” said Manmeet Ahluwalia, Marketing Head, Expedia India.“In fact, when Indian adults were asked to choose between spending time at the beach and spending time with family, among other options, the beach won handily. 80% of Indian travelers are already planning to go for a beach vacation within the next 12 months. To help them do so, we have great deals on domestic or overseas travel and a free holiday to be won every hour” he added.

Here are some findings of the survey: Globally, 52% of adults plan to holiday at the beach in the next 12 months, compared to 45% who said they took a beach vacation the year prior. And while the average stays for a beach vacation is 7.7 days globally, Indians fall below average at 5.4 days. Koreans, Japanese and Singaporeans appear to prefer beach weekends to extended stays. Additionally the specific findings for Indians include:
• Given a choice 30% would opt for beach holiday with plenty of relaxation time, 27% for romantic holiday with spouse/partner and only 14% would prefer most to visit family or friends
• Preferred season for a beach vacation is summer (55%) over winter (23%)
F&B wins hands down over cost of travel
• Food and Beverage reputation, along with novelty of the destination, (77%) have the highest importance, with the total cost of travel ranking at 5th position (71%). India ranks highest globally in giving preference to food and beverage. Other factors include fun night life (69%) and activities offered at the beach (67%).
• Indians place new experiences over relaxation, with over 60% travelling for the experience of another culture alongside being on the beach
• Most Indians (36%) start the planning process 1-3 months in advance
71% Indians are prepared to spend INR 15000 or more on a beach trip • 60% select a beach destination on the basis of available internet access
• 64% decide on a beach destination depending on the time taken to reach there
• Over 56% now consult magazines, travel sites and research for destinations and 60% use recommendations from friends, peers or family
• Amongst different criteria for beach preference, 76% of Indians prefer to go to a beach with tourist attractions near the beach or surrounding area, followed by water & sand quality (73%), weather predictability (68%) and secluded beach environment (61%)
• 68% Indian women look for a secluded beach environment

Relaxing and sunbathing were the top two activities among beachgoers across the five continents included in the Flip Flop Report, with Indians being exceptions-
• 54% Indians have had dinner on the beach
• 49% have gone swimming
Full Report link http://mediaroom.expedia.com/travel-news/expedia-flip-flop-report-1671#node-1671