The outbound travel market in India is growing phenomenally making India one of the fastest–growing outbound market in the world in absolute numbers, second only to China. As a result, most foreign tourism boards are in a race to tap the market with attractive packages to lure the growing number of Indians traveling abroad.
Most of the National Tourism Boards have their own offices in India while some others have representations or the embassies and cultural desks handling the market.
Segments of Outbound Travel
The outbound travel market comprises personal and official travel for holiday/ leisure, business, and MICE tourism as important components. The Indian outbound market is driven by attractive packages, promotion by travel agents, tour operators and destination countries.
It is estimated that by 2018, India will account for nearly 30 million outbound tourists in which business travel, holiday and VFR (visit of friends and relatives) trips dominate the outbound volumes. The market also comprises niche products like sports tourism, luxury travels, MICE, honeymoon packages and cruises.
Among the hot favorite destinations, Thailand has emerged as the most popular for Indian travelers. Thailand is noted for its wide range of ‘value for money’ offerings such as leisure sports, fine dining, adventure services, wellness and quality hotels. Singapore is yet another popular destination followed by the United States and China at the third and fourth positions. Malaysia takes the seat as the fifth destination.
Market research suggests that Indian outbound tourists spend an average US$ 20 billion. The beneficiary destinations of Indian travelers spending are the U.S, Thailand, Singapore, Australia, Dubai, Malaysia and the United Kingdom. Among the preferred emerging destinations for Indians include Sri Lanka, Nepal, China, Japan, South Africa, Indonesia, Philippines, Mauritius, and Egypt.
Senior Indians To Travel MoreMeanwhile, a study released by Visa—leading player in payments technology noted many trends are accelerating the growth of travel and tourism in India. According to the report, a staggering 193 percent growth in outbound travel for Indians above 65 years of age during the decade ending 2025 is in sight. The estimated annual growth in outbound travel amongst Indians stands at 11.4 percent y-o-y for the 65+ age group, who are known as senior citizens. It is much higher than the projected 4.9 percent increase for those below 34 years and 6.4 percent for the age bracket 34-64 years. The growth is attributed to the preference among older travelers to use travel as an opportunity for combining medical treatment and vacation. “The growing income levels among the Indian middle class are creating a new “traveling class”. Unlike earlier days, older travelers can afford bigger trips and are more focused on comfort and health than saving money,” said T.R. Ramachandran, Group Country Manager, India and South Asia, Visa.
Visa in partnership with Oxford Economics created a detailed travel and tourism forecasts for 50 large economies in the world to analyze key trends – traveling class, aging, and connectivity –for outbound tourism.
Musafir Eyeing Indian Market
Meanwhile, Musafir.com, UAE’s first Online Travel Agency (OTA) with an active presence in the Indian OTA market announced Rajesh Pareek as its new Group CEO.
“Musafir.com is a business built on an ambitious vision and we are delighted to welcome Rajesh as the Group CEO,” commented Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Thani, Chairman and Co-founder of Musafir.com.
“Operating under a unique hybrid business model which combines both online and offline services, Musafir.com has grown continuously over the past decade, and has established itself as a beacon of excellence for the region’s travel industry,” Rajesh said.