Move Over China, India is the Biggest Source Market for Outbound Leisure Travel

India_The_Biggest_Outbound_Leisure_Market

Move Over China, India is the Biggest Source Market for Outbound Leisure Travel

In the last few years before the pandemic, China’s outbound leisure travelers emerged as some of the most sought-after and closely watched demographics by travel businesses globally. Their sheer numbers, combined with their growing purchasing power and evolving travel preferences, positioned them at the forefront of the international tourism market. Their penchant for high-end experiences, combined with a willingness to explore diverse destinations, made them a significant contributor to the global travel economy.

However, the landscape of outbound tourism is dynamic, and trends are constantly evolving. One of the most notable shifts observed in recent times is the gradual pivot from China to India in terms of outbound tourism. India surpassed China as the most populated nation. While China has been a dominant force in this sector for years, India’s rising middle class, coupled with its increasing propensity to travel abroad for leisure, is making it a compelling market for travel businesses.

Let us examine this travel demand shift in light of data from RateGain’s World on Holiday travel insights center.

Rise in Outbound Leisure Travel from India

Outbound leisure travel saw a surge as soon as international borders opened for Indians. India crossed the pre-pandemic levels of outbound travel in the last quarter of 2022 and the trend continued in 2023. Families were at the forefront when it came to traveling abroad. Data from RateGain’s World on Holiday travel insights center data reveals that outbound family leisure travel for 2023 was 83% higher than 2022 and 124% higher than 2019.

Growth_in_Outbound_Flight_Booking

A Middle Class with Purchasing Power

The middle class in India is experiencing a transformative phase, especially when it comes to their travel aspirations. Traditionally, international travel was often perceived as a luxury reserved for the affluent. However, with the rapid socio-economic development and increasing disposable incomes, a new breed of Indian travelers has emerged: the aspirational middle-class outbound traveler.

The aspirational middle-class outbound traveler in India values authentic experiences within their budget, often seeking cultural adventures and securing deals online. They show flexibility in travel dates for cost savings and favor budget airlines and shared accommodations. Their international travel commitment is backed by strategic financial planning, utilizing tools like credit cards. Destination choices blend frugality with aspiration.

Let’s look at what are some of the top destinations Indians are flying to:

 Top Destinations (Based on Flight Bookings)
1Singapore
2Bangkok
3Melbourne
4Dubai
5Bali
6Sydney
7Kuala Lumpur
8London
9Manila
10Toronto

Source: Adara, a RateGain Company

Singapore is on top of outbound destinations from India. Apart from being a popular location, it is also a connecting hub for other destinations. Bangkok is the second most visited destination, followed by Melbourne and Dubai. Bali is another hot favorite among the Indian travelers. Most of these destinations are in the Asia Pacific region, closer to home for Indians.

How is the Travel Industry Catering to this Demand?

World on Holiday is an attempt to create a real-time travel-insights center to tell you simply one thing – what travelers are interested in. The insights sourced from hundreds of first-party data sources are based on actual consumer activity and are relevant for anyone who needs a quick way to understand the key macro-trends in any region.

For regular updates on who, why, and how the world is traveling, subscribe to the ‘World on Holiday’ Insights Center.

About World on Holiday

World on Holiday is an attempt to create a real-time travel-insights center to tell you simply one thing – what travelers are interested in. The insights sourced from hundreds of first-party data sources are based on actual consumer activity and are relevant for anyone who needs a quick way to understand the key macro-trends in any region.

For regular updates on who, why, and how the world is traveling, subscribe to the ‘World on Holiday’ Insights Center.

About RateGain

RateGain is a global provider of SaaS solutions for travel and hospitality that works with 2800+ customers—including the Top 23 of 30 Hotel Chains, the Top 25 of 30 Online Travel Agents, and all the top car rentals including 8 Global Fortune500 companies—and 700+ partners in 100+ countries helping them accelerate revenue generation through acquisition, retention, and wallet share expansion.

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