The European Travel Commission has published a detailed survey of the Indian outbound market, underlining key insights for travel professionals in Europe.
In recent years, a large and growing population coupled with a strong economy has fuelled growth in the Indian outbound travel market. International departures from India have increased from 16.6 million in 2013 to 26.3 million in 2018, reflecting a five-year CAGR of 9.6%. According to Tourism Economics statistics, Europe had a 17% share of the Indian outbound market in 2018. Central & Eastern Europe and Western Europe accounted for the largest share of Indian visits to Europe, at 39% and 33% respectively in 2018.
Indian tourists are amongst the highest spenders abroad. Outbound tourism expenditure from India totalled €18.9bn in 2018, registering a growth of 22% over the previous year. At a spending of €720 per departure in 2018, Indian tourists ranked 40th worldwide.
The ETC snapshot provides readers with an overview of India and the Indian tourism market and serves as a guide for European tourism stakeholders looking for information and opportunities to do business with tourism operators in India.
Some of the key findings:
Although business, holiday and VFR remain the staples of Indian outbound tourism, Indian outbound travellers are increasing opting for other diverse types of holidays, such as sports vacations, luxury holidays, adventure trips, honeymoons and cruises. Destination weddings are also a hugely growing trend among the more affluent Indian households. While on holiday, Indian travellers participate in a wide variety of activities and look for memory-making experiences in the company of family and friends. Demand for more adventurous, active excursions and for authentic, immersive experiences is on the rise, especially among the millennials.
Indian travellers stay in a wide variety of accommodation when they travel abroad, with one half budgeting €67-133 per room per night for leisure travel. While the majority stay in hotels, an increasing number of Indian travellers are, according to the survey, exploring other accommodation options, such as renting a villa or apartment through online platforms, such as Airbnb and others which offer homestays.
According to Booking.com, more and more Indian travellers want to have an experiential stay and are looking at places other than the traditional hotels and resorts. Within non-hotel options, hostels are one of the fastest growing segments. Recent research from Booking.com reveals that 56% of these travellers (versus the global average of 33%) would like to include at least one hostel in their trip (domestic or international) to add a social dimension to their stay.
In terms of distribution, retail travel agencies handle the bulk of outbound travel from India. The Indian travel distribution system is fragmented and varied across the country. It is a considerable challenge to reach out to the hundreds of small travel agents around India, many of whom have very limited knowledge of Europe and European destinations. OTAs are already well-established in the distribution of domestic travel. Although their presence in the international travel segment is currently small, international bookings through OTAs are anticipated to increase in the coming years, with residents of smaller towns playing an important part in this growth.
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