Unlock and potential: A look into Outbound Tourism

July 2023 | Tourism

The international tourist arrivals have reached 80% of pre-pandemic levels in the first quarter of 2023 boosted by strong results in Europe and the Middle East, compared to a 66% recovery level for the year 2022. An estimated 235 million tourists travelled internationally in the first three months, more than double those in the same period of 2022. The Middle East saw the strongest performance (+15%) and is the first world region to recover pre-pandemic numbers in a full quarter. Europe reached 90% of pre-pandemic levels in Q1 2023, supported by robust intra-regional demand. Africa and the Americas (North America and South America) reached about 85% of 2019 levels in the first three months of 2023, while arrivals in Asia and the Pacific climbed to 54% of prepandemic levels. In 2022, India's outbound travel market surpassed those of China, South Korea, and Japan, ranking fifth behind Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and China in 2019. The Indian National Departures have registered a growth of 59.2% with respect to 2022. UAE, Saudi Arabia, USA, Singapore, and Thailand are the top destinations for Indian travelers. India’s outbound tourism market estimated to reach US$ 15163.4 Million in 2022 and projected to rise by 11.4% CAGR between 2022 and 2032.  India's impressive rebound as a source market for outbound travel in Asia and Europe is a positive sign for the tourism industry, indicating a growing demand for travel. The growth in the Indian travel and tourism industry is driven by a combination of rising income levels and changing lifestyles, development of diverse tourism offerings, and policy and regulatory support by the government authorities. Rising disposable income, advancements in transportation and technology, globalization and interconnectedness and social media and travel influencers are few of the key factors contributing the growth of Outbound Tourism. As Indians increasingly travel abroad, more tourism boards are dubbing it among their key source markets, expected to outpace many countries in the west and Asia Pacific region. Countries like South Korea, New Zealand and South Africa are betting big on Indian tourists. Opening of tourism offices in India is a strategic move by several countries tourism boards to establish a physical presence and promote their destinations directly to Indian travellers. The outbound tour operator association of India works hard, through its many events and initiatives, to work towards the development of its members and support them in growing their businesses, with the goal of having a targeted member base of 2000 plus verified agencies and tour operators. This report provides valuable insights into the current state and potential of India's outbound tourism industry. It also highlights the significant economic impact, key challenges, and opportunities for growth. Further the report provides few recommendations for the Indian Government to foster the growth of outbound tourism, capitalize on its potential, and position India as a key player in the global travel market. The recommendations include permanent rolling back of TCS (Tax collected at source), enhancing opportunities of partnership with foreign countries, collaboration with airlines, experiential promotions, joint marketing campaigns, allowing foreign cruise vessels to operate on Indian waters, strengthening Indian passport, streamlining visa processes, and strengthening bilateral relations with tourist-friendly countries.

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