Tourism has become one of the most dynamic elements of the global economy. India is such a big and important market. With the added language capability of English usage, the outbound segments in India have a starting advantage. India will be one of the top outbound travel markets in the region increasing to almost 70 million arrivals by 2030. This represents a huge opportunity for travel providers across the region.
With regards to the trends and the evolution of the India market, FIT has certainly gained prominence and is the growth segment of the future. The destination portfolio has become broader, similar to development in Europe. Indians are getting more exploratory and are travelling to all corners of the world. Indian travellers today are more into experiential tourism and want some sort of activity or an experience and not mere sightseeing on their holiday. The trend, especially in the outbound segment, is that of all-inclusive holidays. This may also be prompted by currency fluctuations. People in general want to know beforehand the expense on a vacation. The number of Indians travelling overseas is set to rise from around 15 million today to 50 million by 2020, according to Tourism Australia.
Despite the worldwide recession, there is one area of the tourism market that is rapidly expanding-the upscale or luxury market. In fact, the luxury travel market is the fastest-growing segment of the travel industry worldwide. The rapidly growing number of HNWIs in India therefore presents a significant opportunity for travel providers at the luxury end of the travel scale.
Economies such as India are huge drivers of growth in the travel segment. The constant media promotion by tourist boards targeting the India market has led to a number of travellers and tourists wanting to explore outbound destinations. The best deals offered in holiday packages have encouraged travellers to visit their dream destinations. More and more innovative packages are luring travellers to make the most of the travel opportunities presented to them. For all those who love the idea of travelling abroad on a vacation, the conditions have never been more favourable. Single destination holidays are gaining popularity with Indian travellers as they prefer to explore one destination at leisure instead of visiting multiple destinations in one go. Countries such as Canada, New-Zealand, USA, South Africa and Europe are the most desired destinations with Indians this season. The cultural and unique history that these countries offer attracts travellers of all sorts. For evolved travellers, we have introduced packages for mono destinations such as Piedmont, Tuscany, Philadelphia, Flanders, Jumeirah, Bintan amongst others.
MICE is growing rapidly and is a sizeable business in India. With more and more corporate realising the importance of motivational programmes for staff retention the phenomenon possesses huge growth potential. The South East Asian and Middle East destinations are proven to be more popular as MICE destinations mainly because business travellers and corporate are lured towards exotic destinations. Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia endowed with natural resources and blessed with amazing landscapes are investing significantly in new business infrastructure. Whereas in the Middle East its places such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi that attract demand from a wide range of segments, including leisure, corporate and MICE travellers. With leisure travel destinations such as Europe, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Austria, USA, Switzerland, Ireland, and Turkey are popular with travellers.
Catering to all price segments Kuoni- SOTC products and designing products focusing on affordability and offering value to our customers have always been our focus. We continue to offer a wide variety of holiday propositions, introducing best in class new luxury travel products from offering the unusual in the way of scenery and cuisines to breathing-taking decors, to an integrated travel experience that combines everything from gourmet foods to spa experiences. Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, USA and Europe are destinations that prove to be very popular with holiday seekers. Keeping this in mind we have introduced packages for this summer through our Summer Holiday Bazaar Holiday Propositions run across 30 cities in India which offered extremely attractive offers.
Vishal Suri is the Chief Executive Officer-Tour Operating at Kuoni India.