Travel Trade Journal

India is travelling!

- Akash Dahiya About the Author: Akash Dahiya is the Co-founder of SanKash, a travel FinTech start-up.

India is a huge market for countries worldwide when it comes to travel and tourism. Tourism Boards worldwide need to go beyond their reach to travel agents to strike a chord with the travellers directly. It is time for Internatio­nal Tourism Boards and National Tourist Offices to communicat­e with Indian travellers differentl­y.

Tourism worldwide has been through a rough patch. It started with COVID-19 in 2020 and though showed signs of recovery in the past two years; it was further hit by the negative sentiment towards travel to Eastern Europe, thanks to the Ukraine-Russia face-off!

As many tourism boards like Maldives struggle to fill the gap of lost travellers from Russia amidst the war, most South Asian countries have realised the immense potential of India as a fertile ground for global tourism boards. As the demand for new experience­s spikes back home from the highly savvy younger generation of Indian travellers, the tour operators need to mirror their aspiration­s.

Indian traveller is not just limiting themselves to the usual Internatio­nal destinatio­ns, but are willing to explore new experience­s and new destinatio­ns abroad.

Riding on this demand, in June 2022, Turkiye (formerly Turkey) hosted the highest ever number of travellers from India (more than 27,300 tourists from India) in one month alone, breaking all previous inbound travel records from India. This was enabled by the ease of visas and direct flights other than the efforts made by the Turkiye Tourism Board (TTB).

As travel exhibition­s and roadshows are back post-pandemic, the Azerbaijan Tourism Board and Singapore have also been investing in advertisin­g in India to entice Indian travellers. The Azerbaijan Tourism Board has been eyeing Indian travellers as a wedding and conference destinatio­n.

Maldives saw India as its top sources market with nearly 3, 00,000 Indians that visited Maldives last year. Seeing this potential, Maldives is further looking to build upon its credential­s, especially in tier I and tier II cities in India.

South African Tourism has done multiple multi-city roadshows in India. South African Tourism is not just offering discounted fares, but also peculiar experience­s like glamping and snorkellin­g with sharks.

Qatar Tourism too has been actively working to tap the Indian outbound market by conducting roadshows and rolling out special offers to Indian tourists for the FIFA World cup and other segments like MICE, wedding destinatio­ns, and leisure.

Global destinatio­ns are viewing tourism as key to the revival of their economies. Hence, government­s worldwide are laying out the red carpet for inbound tourists. This includes not just the destinatio­ns whose economies depend on tourism but new to inbound tourism countries too.

With India’s mammoth scope, as one of the fastest growing and largest outbound travel markets globally, with approximat­ely 80 million passport level of purchasing power, among the middle class and poised to grow to $42 billion by 2024, it’s only logical for these tourism boards to woo the Indian travellers.

This could have a cascading impact on their economies. Closer home, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Nepal are examples of how dependence on tourism has impacted their economies.

However, as the landscape of the Indian traveller changes and Internatio­nal tourism boards are eager to leverage this opportunit­y by reconnecti­ng with their Indian partners and agents. However, the old-school method of approachin­g demand through travel agents alone would not work. It’s time that the Internatio­nal Tourism Boards start to reinvent and reimagine. It is always the early bird who catches the worm. Along with travel trade partners, they also need to look at other opportunit­ies to enhance their reach.

The Tourism Boards will also have to devise strategies to create a pull directly through D2C marketing initiative­s and roll out some red carpet for D2C products and offerings. Though the travel agents cannot be surpassed completely, the Tourism Boards can work on attracting the much savvy and ‘ready to experiment’ travellers directly through their product offerings.

 ?? ??
 ?? ?? Akash Dahiya
Akash Dahiya

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India