Boom In India’s Outbound Tourism Market Is Faster Than China’s Recovering Tourism Industry

When discussing Asia’s tourism rebound, the reemergence of Chinese tourists is typically regarded as being the most important.  However, more Indian travellers than any other market in the globe are looking for overseas travel, according to Omri Morgenshtern, CEO of Agoda.

“The entire thing is booming,” he said. “India outbound [travel] is growing much faster than any other.”

According to company data, although searches for outbound travel from the majority of Asia-Pacific nations rose between 30% and 60% from 2019 to 2020, searches from travellers in India climbed by 225%.

“India’s travel industry has recovered strongly on the back of economic growth in the country,” said Lalitya Dhavala, valuations consultant at travel analytics firm Cirium.

“The data shows a strong recovery of both domestic and international traffic as compared to 2019 with … positive growth in scheduled capacity in the next quarter,” said.

What is their destination?

For Indian tourists, the top destinations are Thailand, Singapore, and Indonesia.

According to Agoda data, hotel and flight searches by Indian tourists to Indonesia climbed by 256% between January 2019 and mid-May this year, to Singapore by 215%, and to Thailand by 147%.

However, interest in Vietnam, a nation long ignored by Indian tourists, increased. Data from Agoda indicated a 390% increase over 2019.

“Vietnam is within the top five destinations and it was never there in 2019,” Morgenshtern said.

According to Vishal Suri, general director of SOTC Travel, there were no direct flights between India and Vietnam prior to 2019, therefore connection between the two nations is now greater.

“Vietnam is a destination that isn’t very far away from India and still in the ASEAN region. It’s just a four- or five-hour flight out of most parts of the country,” Suri said.

Indian travellers continue to favour Southeast Asian countries, but according to Agoda data, their interest in East Asian destinations has decreased.

Agoda’s data shows a decrease in hotel and flight searches to Japan and Taiwan from 2019. However, since the outbreak, searches for South Korea have increased.

“Travel to Southeast Asia is completely exploding, but East Asian countries are much more expensive destinations,” Morgenshtern said.

But Morgenshtern anticipates a quick increase in travellers’ interest in East Asia. He also mentioned the United States and the United Kingdom, two more pricey marketplaces that are well-liked by Indians.

“I don’t see why an Indian customer that would go to Europe won’t have a lot of fun going to Japan or Taiwan.”

More disposable income

Indians are spending money, whether it’s on a quick trip to Asia or a lengthy vacation in Europe. They also spend a lot of money.

“There’s this perception that the Indian traveler’s economic power is very low. It may be true domestically, but when it comes to outbound, I actually think it’s on par with the Chinese when they visit other Asian countries,” Agoda’s Morgenshtern said.

According to Agoda’s research, Indian travellers spent 20% more on hotels for their international trips last year than the average Chinese consumer and around 30% more than they had before the pandemic.

Chinese and Indian visitors to Thailand spend similarly on hotels, he claimed.

“Indians like to stay in four- or five-star accommodations, and at branded hotels with names that they are familiar with,” SOTC’s Suri said. “They are also exploring proper restaurants instead of eating at fast food outlets.”

Dhavala of Cirium emphasised that only more affluent Indian travellers are taking more trips abroad.

“The rest of the middle-class sector is focused on domestic travel, and low-cost airlines in India are well placed to meet that demand,” she said.

(Adapted from


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