Revenge travel after the pandemic may be over for many countries, but the urge to hop on a plane has not dwindled for travelers from India.
Indians could be the fourth-largest global travel spenders by 2030, according to a recent report by Booking.com and McKinsey.
However, they pointed out that outbound travel only accounted for approximately 1% of total trips made by Indians last year, and that’s expected to continue until 2030.
Regardless, total expenditure from overseas trips will increase from about 25% to 35%, the study showed.
Indian travelers are expected to embark on 5 billion more trips by 2030, and spending on travel and tourism is predicted to hit $410 billion by then. That’s a surge of more than 170% from $150 billion in 2019, the report showed.
As more people enter the workforce, the country’s household spending per capita will increase and could outpace other developing Asian economies like Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand.
About 13 million households are expected to have an income distribution of $35,000, a jump from just 2 million in 2020, according to the study.
More than $200 billion have been spent in the last decade to improve India’s transportation sector, and the number of airports in the country has doubled since 2014, Booking.com and McKinsey said.
To prepare for the growing appetite for travel, Indian airlines have ordered more than 1,000 units of aircrafts, bringing the total number of planes to between 1,500 to 1,700 units by 2030, the report showed.
India’s national carrier Air Indiapurchased in June 470 Airbus and Boeing aircrafts as part of its $70 billion fleet expansion program.
Domestic travel is still key
Despite an increase in spending power, Indians still prefer to travel domestically, the survey showed.
Apart from big well-known cities like Delhi and Mumbai, states such as Varanasi, Coimbatore and Kochi are becoming popular travel destinations as well.
“There is an expected shift in India’s income pyramid, marked by ~6X growth in households earning USD 35,000 annually by 2030,” the report highlighted.
Indian travelers prefer to take multiple short trips instead of just one or two a year, according to Jatin Khanna, Chief Executive Officer, Sarovar Portico Hotels & Resorts, who was cited in the study.
In 2022, 29% of Indian travelers took a holiday for over 25 days, more than tourists from developed countries like Australia (24%), Germany (23%), and the U.S. (15%).
“They have grown more discerning and experimental in what they want from a trip. They are willing to try unique, authentic, and immersive experiences, often inspired by social media platforms – where they get new ideas and plan their trips.”