By Gour Kanjilal
Why International Tourism Board eyeing on India’s outbound?
Here are some reasons that will catch your eyes too...
INDIA is one of the fastest-growing outbound travel markets in the world. And the International tourism departures from India have grown high comparing last few years. In 2010, approximately 12.99 million Indians travelled abroad.
The outbound travel market in India has grown at an average of 10 to 15% in the last five years from 4.9 million travelers in 2002 to 12.99 million in 2010 according to the statistics data available with the Ministry of Tourism. Share of India's rank international tourist arrivals is just 0.6% we need to reach at least 1% by 2012/13.
Top destinations for outbound were UK followed by the USA and SriLanka. The other international markets for India are France, Canada, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Australia, Italy, Singapore, the Netherlands and South Korea. Now China is a popular outbound destination in 2011 since 2009.
2011 showed an upward trend which indicates that outbound tourism from India is having a healthy growth which is much better than inbound tourism to India which is around 11% and last year international arrival was 5.78 million in 2010. In the outbound market bookings from Mumbai were mainly for Europe and the South Asian trinity of Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia (favourable destinations of the first time travelers). From Delhi, the highest demand was for Australia and New Zealand, though interest in these countries is also picking up in Mumbai. USA, Srilanka and China also continued to be favourite with Western India while Istanbul and Budapest generated interest in Delhi. For the South travelers, Middle East, apart from South East Asia, USA and Europe have engaged their fancy. Majority of travel abroad was for family vacations, especially from smaller metros. However, other than the metro cities small metros like Nagpur, Vishakhapatnam, Ahmedabad, Nasik, Jodhpur, Jaipur, Amritsar, Ludhiana are also showing a positive growth towards outbound tourism since mid 2006.
Average daily spend per person was between US $ 75 – US$ 200 with hotel choices varying from 3 to 5 star. This does not include the air passage and the substantial amount they spent on shopping. Infact in this respect India stands higher spender in outbound market compared to many developed countries. This has now Quantified by the opening of offices in India to attract outbound market by countries like France, Holland, Spain, UK, USA, Austria, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Spain, Srilanka and aggressive marketing being conducted by them with special offer to lure the Indian holidayers. More opened recently like China, Japan, Macau, Greece, Germany, Ireland etc.
The increased movements for both outbound from India as well as Indians taking holiday within India is due to availability of disposal money with the families being husband-wife team working as also incentives being offered to the executives by the MNCs for holiday breaks. This has further been augmented because of special packages now available from various airlines and countries promoting the destination from overseas, easy availability of those packages specially tour operators offering staggered payments before the final departure, banks offering loans for holidays and most important being lot of countries are having Visa relaxations for Indians. One of the major reason is that travel with in India is much costlier than travelling overseas. But there is a sea change in travel style within India due to emergence of low cost carriers (LLC) who are offering very competitive prices and flying hinterland areas. Re-introduction of LTC by the government has also boosted the volume of travels with government officials which were stopped for some time. That also was a reason when people were oriented towards overseas tours. In general it was found that holidaying overseas is cheaper as tax on air turbine fuel makes domestic flying costlier compared to visiting Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia etc. Flying to Kochi from Delhi and back by domestic carrier may cost obout Rs 30,000 where as Thailand tickets are available for Rs. 20, 000 just to give example.
WWTC calls Travel and Tourism as India's locomotive of India's economic and employment growth. Travel and Tourism provides 51 million jobs in India – 27 million directly and 24 million indirectly. The present contribution of GDP in the country's economy is over 6.5%.
With the Civil Aviation Ministry making big strides last year with 40 million domestic passengers is set to grow further in 2011 onwards contributing significantly to the country's economy and with state Government airports in metro cities.
The outbound seems to have better prospects as Indians are counted as very civilized holidayers. Outbound is expected to reach 15 million by 2012-13 the way all airlines are putting efforts to take Indians to their respective destinations by having special packages worked out with hoteliers and tourists offices. Earlier they had one office in Delhi or Mumbai, now they have offices in Chennai, Kolkata also. They are offering value additions on the clubs packages to lure Indians with extra nights, gifts, tickets for night clouds. We as Indian tour operators can't offer such incentives, even the 5 Star Hotels are beyond the reach of leisure holidayers as hotel price goes over Rs 20,000 per room in simple five star hotels and then over and above taxes are loaded.