Most people who have dealt with Indian travellers will have realised that we’re not the best of tourists. We’re cheap and can be uncouth, but as far as the Indian tourist’s behaviour is concerned, we’re hardly the world’s worst tourists.
No, the award for the worst-behaved tourists goes to… domestic tourists.
However, things are changing in India, and Indians seem to be getting more adventurous and generous with their travel budgets.
As this article in Forbes notes:
Encouraged by its pace-setting 7% GDP global growth rate, rising personal income levels and changing lifestyles, huge middle class as well as the availability of low-cost air fares and diverse travel packages, India is rapidly becoming one of the fastest growing outbound travel markets in the world, second only to China.
Here are some facts that will thrill and delight tour operators who deal with Indian tourists.
- At present, around 25 million tourists from India travel abroad.
- Outbound Travel from India is growing at 15-18 per cent annually.
- India will account for 50 million outbound tourists by 2020.
- 31 per cent of Indian tourists were willing to spend over Rs 50,000 on a trip.
- Total outbound spending will cross the $28 billion mark in 2020.
- India has 28 million passport holders, all of whom are potential travellers.
- By 2030, the value of India’s business travel market is expected to reach $93 billion.
- When travelling abroad, Indian tourists are among the world’s highest-spending globetrotters. Their spending power has been estimated to be four times that of the Chinese and Japanese.
- The average Indian traveller spends $1,200 per visit as compared with Americans who spend about $700, and Brits who spend $500.
These are compelling statistics, so if you haven’t been targeting Indian tourists so far, perhaps it’s time to do it now. To learn what Indians want from their travel experiences, keep reading.
What Are Indian Travellers Looking For?
- The top rated reason Indian travellers take a vacation is to rejuvenate, followed closely by spending quality time with family and taking time away from city life.
- 40 per cent of all outbound trips by Indians are for business purposes, leisure, visiting friends and relatives (VFR) and others account for 20 per cent.
- City tours and shopping are the most preferred activities across domestic and international locations. Three in four travellers exploring new destinations and over 60% of honeymooners, too, chose city tours as their most preferred activity.
- Adventure travellers ranked water sports as a favourite, with a large share picking water sports and scuba diving.
- Indians said they liked to buy food and drink items at airports. While designer clothes and jewellery are a close second for women, male travellers said they liked buying perfumes or colognes from airport stores.
- Over half give high priority to the availability of restaurants and cafes when picking a new destination to visit.
- Festivals are new travel days with the most popular travel weekends being Maha Shivratri, Holika Dahan and Good Friday.
- While the preferred choice of accommodation remained budget hotels, Indians want to spend more on experiences and exploration of the destination as well as shopping, food, and drink.
Tip: Indians are price-conscious when it comes to accommodation, but will spend on shopping and food. Plan your tours to cater to these preferences. Plan your marketing campaigns around festivals and major holidays, like Diwali.
More Indians Are Travelling Sustainably
Surprise, surprise! Indians are some of the most mindful and environmentally conscious travellers out there. (yes, I’m surprised, too)
There are always exceptions, and to visit India would make it seem like we’re not the most civic-minded people in our own country. But the facts below can’t be denied.
- Around 97 per cent of Indian travellers want to travel sustainably in 2018 with 88 per cent of them willing to pay a premium.
- While 73 per cent of current Indian travellers always or often opt for sustainable travel, around 32 per cent are willing to pay at least 15 per cent more to ensure as low an impact on the environment as possible.
- The sustainable activities most enjoyed by Indians during vacations are buying locally made products instead of mass-produced tourist souvenirs, using public transport instead of a taxi and to find a local restaurant that only uses local ingredients.
- Indians also like skipping tourist highlights in favour of less busy and often more rewarding sights and opt for a place to stay that is a certified eco-accommodation over a traditional hotel
- Most Indians were motivated by impressive natural sights, including rainforests, coral reefs, among others.
- About 72 per cent also felt motivated by the positive effect sustainable tourism had on local people.
Tip: Include more eco-friendly options in your tour packages. Eco-lodges and homestays are a great option for the price-conscious Indian traveller, especially those that give back to the community. Avoid elephant rides and cruel animal attractions, and promote sustainable practices. For example, providing reusable water bottles with your logo is a cheap way to promote sustainability and get free branding to boot.
Indians Are Family Travellers
- Indians are the most family-oriented globally and prefer destinations that offer fun activities for all.
- Sixty-four per cent of Indians feel the availability of family fun activities are the most important factor when choosing a holiday destination
- Visits to amusement parks and boat rides are high on priority among international travellers.
Tip: As an Indian, I know that many Indian couples like to travel with parents and kids in tow. Provide a multi-generational experience and include activities (not necessarily together) that are enjoyable for seniors as well as youngsters, and your tours will be a favourite with Indian travellers.
What Are Indian Travellers’ Favourite Destinations?
Indians love to explore places of historical and cultural significance. They also love to shop and eat out.
- When deciding on a destination for holiday, Indian travellers cited scenic beauty, convenient place to travel to, and affordability as their top factors.
- Travellers from India also said they will choose destinations based on historical landmarks and great shopping choices.
- Up to 97% of Indian respondents said they’d travel within the country for their spiritual needs.
- Beaches and hills topped the list, catching the fancy of approximately a third of all vacationers.
- Beach destinations like Goa, Mumbai, Port Blair and Kochi are a popular option for weekend getaways.
- Goa, Delhi and Kerala were the most popular domestic destinations among Indian travellers.
- Globally, Indian travellers are most likely to travel to Dubai, Thailand and Singapore.
- Singapore, Dubai and Bangkok are ranked as the three most popular international destinations for weekend getaways in 2018.
- Four in 10 were most likely to choose foreign destinations for their honeymoons.
- Four out of the top five destinations for honeymooners were countries in southeast Asia, with Indonesia leading the pack.
- Europe commands an estimated market share of about 20 per cent of all Indian outbound departures.
- 24 per cent of Indian holiday-makers picked Paris as the top dream destination in Europe followed by London.
- While 41 per cent picked Oxford Street as the top shopping destination in London, 30 per cent said they would go for malls for discounted luxury goods.
Tip: Make sure your tour options include restaurants that serve vegetarian or vegan food since many Indians do not eat meat.
How Do Domestic Tourists Get Around?
- The bus is the most common mode of transport for India’s domestic tourists. This is true in both rural and urban areas. It accounts for 33.5% of travel in urban areas and 49.9% in rural areas.
- Trains and hired transport are the two other major modes of transport in both areas.
- Air travel is limited to 1.9% for urban and 0.1% for rural travel.
Tip: I don’t see this changing anytime soon since paying airfare for an entire family can cost a small fortune. However, Indians love a discount or two. They also love perks, like upgrades to business travel. Throw in some freebies and you might get more to take the bait.
Indian Travellers & Timeshares
- Indians are warming up towards timeshares.
- Timeshare owners are typically married 45 to 65-year olds. They have kids who are more than 6 years.
- They generally have their own business, have a monthly income of more than Rs 76,000 to more than 1 lakh.
- They start planning almost 1- 4 months in advance and prefer going on group tours.
Tip: As a single mom, I’ve been staying in timeshares for almost all of my kid’s childhood. They’re family-friendly and provide safe accommodation for single moms travelling solo or with kids. They also provide free, in-house entertainment options that parents like me love. Consider these demographics when you promote your timeshare offering.
- India will account for 50 million outbound tourists by 2020: Report
- How India Has Become A Booming Supplier Of Outbound Tourists
- Global Travel Suppliers Eye India’s Outbound Tourism Market
- 97% Indians travellers eye ‘sustainable’ tourism in 2018: Survey
- Indians, most family-oriented travellers: survey
- Indian travel enthusiasts prefer foreign shores for long weekend getaways
- For love or for god: Why Indians travel
- How India travels
- Indians are warming up towards the timesharing vacation trend, study reveals