India’s travel industry is experiencing a significant shift as the country establishes itself as a tourism powerhouse. While Indian travelers have been known for their willingness to spend extravagantly while traveling, recent research reveals that most Indians are choosing to explore destinations within their own country rather than going abroad.
In 2022, Indian travelers embarked on a staggering 1.7 billion leisure trips, with only about 1% venturing outside the country, according to data from Booking.com and McKinsey. Furthermore, projections indicate that by 2030, Indian travelers will take approximately 5 billion leisure trips, with 99% of those trips being domestic. This growth can be attributed to various factors, including the significant rise in the country’s middle-income population, which is expected to witness substantial growth in household earnings.
Additionally, India’s young population, with a median age of 27.6, sets it apart from other major economies. McKinsey suggests that this demographic, coupled with an increase in the consumption of goods and services, including leisure and recreation, will contribute to the doubling of spending on travel and tourism, reaching a staggering $410 billion by 2030.
The top destinations within India for domestic travel, according to Booking.com and McKinsey, include New Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai, Pune, Hyderabad, Gurugram, Jaipur, Kochi, and Kolkata. These popular attractions are likely to remain highly frequented, but there is a growing trend of Indian travelers exploring smaller urban spots in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities such as Jodhpur, Dharamshala, Bodhgaya, Bilaspur, Kodagu, and Raipur.
The attractiveness of these lesser-known destinations has piqued the interest of international hotel chains keen on expanding their presence in India’s thriving travel industry. Branded hotels are now targeting Tier 2 cities due to the business opportunities they offer and travelers’ increasing willingness to pay for standard services.
The growing interest in exploring smaller Indian cities can largely be attributed to the ongoing development of transportation infrastructure. As India plans to become the second-largest economy by 2075, the finance ministry has announced significant capital expenditures, with a focus on enhancing the transportation network. To accommodate the growing demand, Indian airlines have also placed orders for over 1,000 new aircraft.
While the majority of Indian travelers continue to explore the beauty of their own country, there is a small percentage who venture abroad. The top international destinations for Indian travelers include Dubai, Bangkok, Singapore, London, Paris, Ho Chi Minh City, Ubud, Hanoi, Phuket, and Kathmandu.
Indian travelers’ shift towards domestic destinations represents a maturing travel ecosystem and enhanced connectivity within the country. With government initiatives promoting India as a tourist hub and the rising popularity of smaller cities, India’s travel landscape is poised for exciting growth and transformation in the years to come.
1. What are the top domestic travel destinations in India?
The top domestic travel destinations in India include New Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai, Pune, Hyderabad, Gurugram, Jaipur, Kochi, and Kolkata.
2. Why are more Indians exploring smaller cities?
Indian travelers are increasingly interested in exploring smaller cities due to enhanced transportation infrastructure, government initiatives promoting tourism, and the rising business opportunities in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities.
3. Which international destinations are popular among Indian travelers?
Dubai, Bangkok, Singapore, London, Paris, Ho Chi Minh City, Ubud, Hanoi, Phuket, and Kathmandu are among the top international destinations for Indian travelers.
4. Why are branded hotels focusing on Tier 2 cities in India?
Branded hotels are targeting Tier 2 cities in India due to the increasing business opportunities and the willingness of Indian travelers to pay for standard services.
5. How is India’s travel landscape expected to grow?
India’s travel landscape is predicted to witness substantial growth, with Indian travelers projected to take 5 billion leisure trips by 2030. Spending on travel and tourism is expected to surge to $410 billion, fueled by a growing middle-income population and increased consumption of goods and services.