ASIA NEW HOT FAVOURITE FOR INDIANS
Asian destinations like Singapore, Dubai and Thailand are fast emerging as the favourite destinations for Indian travelers, pushing the US, Australia and Mauritius to the back-burner as expenses are spiraling with fall in rupee's exchange value, says a survey. "Singapore, Dubai and Thailand are replacing the US, Australia and Mauritius as top three choices due to rising costs," according to ICICI-Lombard survey. As per the survey, factors like a sharp fall in the rupee, expensive overseas travel and rising air travel have contributed towards this change of preference among travelers. The survey covered Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Indore, with inputs coming in from 1,043 participants. The survey further said that while beaches, landscapes, historical and heritage sites seem to be the top consideration for overseas travel, safety and security are also gaining importance. Interestingly, while the US is considered the safest country by travelers, China is perceived to be least safe. "China is seen as the most unsafe country and the US is considered the safest by domestic travelers. Similarly, Singapore ranks tops in tourist infrastructure, while Sri Lanka is placed in the bottom on this front. It also said majority of the travelers prefer to travel with their families. On the cost side, the survey reveals that while the US is the most expensive destination, Sri Lanka is the least expensive. As far as the information for overseas travel is concerned, the survey reveals that travel agents are the key source of information, followed by advice from friends and relatives as well as the Internet. On purchasing of travel insurance, the survey said luggage protection is the key trigger for purchasing travel insurance, which is different from the claims behaviour that is mostly coming in from medical expenses. According to the ICICI Lombard claim data, maximum of around 80 per cent claims paid were reported from the US. Commenting on the survey findings, chief underwriting and claims officer at ICICI Lombard Sanjay Datta said, "these insights will help them introduce innovative products and services with the changing need of the customers in the travel insurance segment."