India Outbound - May 2012
India’s rapidly evolving economy has brought about unprecedented growth in the Indian outbound travel market. As one of the fastest-growing nations in the world and home to a population of 1.2 billion, India’s economy continued to strengthen even during the global recession. Amid the backdrop of this economic prosperity, rising incomes and robust consumer confidence have raised consumers’ propensity to travel overseas. Seasoned travellers now take several trips each year, while the possibility of an annual foreign trip is de rigueur among the middle classes living in cities. The volume of first-time travellers heading abroad, enticed by affordable travel products, is also a major driving force in the outbound market.
According to the Indian Ministry of Tourism (MOT), the number of departures by Indian nationals reached 13 million in 2010. In the absence of official data, Mintel estimates the market continued to grow by 11% in 2011, reaching 14.5 million. Although India’s economy proved stable in 2009, the global recession forced a cutback in overseas trips in this year, when the market grew by just 1.8%.
The expansion of affordable flights between India and foreign countries has spearheaded growth in outbound travel. Asia is the most visited continent, although Europe and North America also receive a sizeable amount of visitors. The top ten Asian destinations alone accounted for 30% of all outbound departures in 2010.
India is not just perceived as offering potential in volume terms, the value of each Indian tourist ranks alongside travellers from other major economies, making India a lucrative target market. VisitBritain estimates that the total value of the Indian outbound market totals some £6.5 billion a year. In the US, the Indian traveller spends an average of US$4,390 per visit.
National tourism organisations (NTOs) from around the globe are targeting the Indian outbound traveller. In the past few years, NTOs have established a presence in India to implement their strategy. It seems that even small foreign markets have placed India high on its strategic agenda, such is the opportunity envisaged in this market. India’s long-term importance is underlined by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)’s prediction that 50 million will be travelling outbound by 2020.
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