- The travel landscape in India is changing as the country emerges as a powerhouse in the tourism sector.
- Indian travelers took 1.7 billion leisure trips in 2022, but most never left the country and only about 1% traveled abroad, according to Booking.com and McKinsey.
The world-famous India Gate monument in Mumbai, India was built in the 20th century to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary. Located on the banks of the Apollo Bunder area in south Mumbai, it is the city’s biggest tourist attraction.
Darren Robb | The Image Bank | Getty Images
The travel landscape in India is changing as the country emerges as a powerhouse in the tourism sector.
Their willingness to spend big while traveling is growing, but research shows that most Indians travel domestically rather than abroad.
Indian travelers took 1.7 billion leisure trips in 2022, but most never left the country and only about 1% traveled abroad, according to Booking.com and McKinsey.
Indian travelers are projected to take 5 billion leisure trips by 2030 and 99% of them will also be domestic, said the report released in October.
The world’s most populous country is expected to be the world’s fourth-biggest travel spender by 2030, largely due to its growing middle-income population, whose household incomes will grow by $35,000 a year by then.
The population is also young, with a median age of 27.6, “more than ten years younger than most major economies,” McKinsey said on its website. “What’s more, consumption of goods and services, including leisure and recreation, is projected to double by 2030.”
Travel and tourism spending is projected to reach $410 billion, a jump of more than 170 percent from $150 billion in 2019, the report shows.
Here are the top 10 places for Indians traveling within their own country, according to Booking.com and McKinsey.
- New Delhi
According to the How India Travels 2023 report, around 2,000 Indians and 42,000 global tourists between the ages of 18 and 54 booked leisure travel in 2022 and plan to do the same this year.
New Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Chennai retained the top four spots from the previous survey in 2015 – Kochi is the only new city on the list.
“The travel ecosystem in India is evolving and there are multiple government schemes that are making the country more connected and ensuring that it develops into a tourism hub,” Kanika Kalra, managing partner at McKinsey Mumbai, told CNBC.
The top 10 most visited cities are densely populated destinations, but that could soon change.
More Indians are now looking to find smaller urban locations, including those in tier 2 or tier 3 cities, Kalra said, adding that Kochi is a tier 2 city.
Tier 2 cities in India are those with a population between 50,000 and 100,000, while those with a population of 20,000 to 50,000 are classified as Tier 3 cities, according to India Briefing.
Tourists shop for clothes at a local street market in Jodhpur, India, on November 22, 2022.
Mayur Kakade | Moment | Getty Images
In addition to cosmopolitan cities like New Delhi and Mumbai, the likes of Jodhpur, Dharamshala, Bodhgaya, Bilaspur, Kodagu and Raipur are also attracting the attention of international hotel chains looking to capture market share in India’s booming tourism industry.
“Branded hotels are currently focusing on tier 2 cities for expansion due to growing business opportunities and increasing willingness of travelers to pay for standard services,” Deepak Rao, director of revenue management at Hyatt Hotels in India and Southwest Asia, said in the report. .
French hotel chain Novotel opened its doors to tourists in Jodhpur in May, while Radisson Hotel Group announced in June that it would begin welcoming visitors to Raipur in 2025.
Around half (52%) of hotels in tier 2 and tier 3 cities will be branded hotels by the end of 2023 – up from 27% in 2015, the report shows.
The growing interest in traveling to smaller Indian cities is largely due to the transportation infrastructure push underway, Mckinsey’s Kalra said.
Announcing the annual budget in February, India’s finance ministry said it planned to increase capital spending by 33% to 10 trillion rupees ($120.96 billion) as the country is poised to become the second-largest economy by 2075.
Indian airlines have ordered more than 1,000 new planes, bringing the total to between 1,500 and 1,700 by 2030, the report showed.
“So we’re going to see that landscape change quite dramatically and we’re going to see a new wave of commuters to the smaller cities,” Kalra said.
Of the 1% of Indian travelers who go abroad, here are the top 10 places they visit.
- Ho Chi Minh City