INDIA: ASIA’S NEXT BOOMING OUTBOUND MARKET

WITH AN AVERAGE GROWTH RATE OF 25% PER YEAR, INDIAN OUTBOUND TOURISTS ARE LIKELY TO REACH 50 MILLION BY THE BEGINNING OF THE NEXT DECADE

While China continues to catch most of the world’s attention with number of Chinese outbound travellers hitting new records year after year (over 122 million last year), one would be wrong to ignore the “other” big Asian outbound growth market: India.

India’s middle class population was estimated at 267 million in 2016. And by 2025-26 the number of middle class households in India is likely to more than double from the 2015-16 levels to 113.8 million households or 547 million individuals.

And this is not the only impressive statistic about India. It is due to rank among the world’s youngest countries for its population, and it is due to overtake China as the most populated country in the world around 2022/2025.

All these elements point to a boom in outbound tourism. Currently, UNWTO estimates that 20 million Indians are outbound travellers. From that number, according to a report from Amadeus, some 40% are travelling for business purposes. With an average growth rate of 25% per year, Indian outbound tourists are likely to reach 50 million by the beginning of the next decade. Indian travellers generally spend long holidays when overseas. Trips to other continents average 12 to 15 days. Indians are also big spenders: on average, their holiday expenses are four times higher than their Chinese or Japanese counterparts. Average spending per capita for shopping is around US$1,200 per person. Honeymoons and wedding trips are a big hit, especially for deluxe hotels. In Asia, Phuket and Bali are increasingly turning into top destinations for Indian wedding makers as ceremonies in those islands are generally cheaper and more luxurious than in their own country. Furthermore, contrary to China, the outbound market is not constrained by political or societal constraints: there are no travel restrictions on Indians travelling abroad while most of the middle class speaks excellent English and is generally tech- savvy.

Another factor is the multiplication of flights connecting India to the rest of the world. Many low-cost airlines connect now India to Asia and to the Middle East. Before long, it is expected that long-haul budget carriers would also connect the Indian sub- continent to Europe. Last year, some 99.5 million passengers were recorded on airlines to and from India. According to the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation CAPA, this number should rocket by 25% this year to reach over 130 million passengers…


Photo: Karva Chauth puja, India