ETW STAFF – Mumbai
According to the most recent data from travel suppliers, roughly one in 10 leisure traveller who hits the road alone and it is predicted that this segment is likely to witness steady growth year after year. Be it women getting away for recharging their batteries without the family or men going on a golf trip to enjoy some bonding time with buddies, travelling solo is no longer a privilege of the single status citizens. A testimony to this growing segment of travellers is a new focus from tour operators on solo travel – be it through emerging styles or special offers to lure these travelers. One company that understands this segment and has been growing this segment for decades is Cosmos, a leader in budget touring. “In a changing social environment that includes more independent women, a shift in the balance of responsibilities in relationships, young adults with large disposable incomes and even more people making the choice to remain single, an increase in more travellers going solo from India seems natural,” says Gauri Jayaram, regional director – South Asia and Middle East for Cosmos. She added, “Close to one third of our entire business comprises single travelers and of that 55 per cent are women. From India alone, 2012 has seen a growth of 7 per cent in single travellers with us and we expect to grow this by 10 per cent in 2013. Clearly a new breed of travellers is emerging in India.”
Travelling solo has its perks. As one is responsible for only themselves, they have more freedom to experiment; plan their time to do as they please and indulge in experiences that are meaningful to them. On the flip side, travelling alone can be lonely and can also mean an additional expense per person as most hotels demand single supplements. For single women in particular, the issue of safety is also an important one. Tour operators like Cosmos make it easier for travellers to go solo. Travellers can choose from one of their 150 itineraries and those going single have the choice to side-step the single supplement with their ‘Guarantee Share’ option where single travellers share their room with another single traveler of the same gender from anywhere in the world. The cosmopolitan mix of travelers on their tours, allows them the opportunity to meet other like-minded travelers from all over the world.