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US Tourists to Flock to India This Winter

New Delhi: India and the US are gearing up for a significant rise in travel between the countries this winter, primarily driven by people of Indian origin. Flight bookings show both nations rank as the leading outbound destinations for each other.

A report by BSE-listed RateGain Travel Technologies Ltd, which provides SaaS solutions for travel and hospitality, said winter, typically, is not a season when Indians travel to the US, but this season will be a deviation from last year. According to the report accessed by Mint, the rise in demand, spanning December to February 2024 compared with a year earlier, was conducted by World on Holiday Insights Centre. The analysis takes into account airline and hotel booking information rather than search data.

The drop in bookings from the US to the UAE emerged as a significant factor in making India a key destination for outbound US travellers. Growing number of US citizens, including persons of Indian origin, are choosing India for the winter break. A significant rise in hotel bookings in India is seen since October, extending up to February. The report said the ongoing conflict in West Asia prompted many US citizens to holiday in places like Goa and Kerala.

The US’s top 10 outbound leisure destinations are diverse. India leads at 30% of bookings, followed by Mexico at 22%, and the UK, Japan, and the Philippines completing the top five with 8%, 7% and 6%, respectively. Colombia, Spain, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, and Italy, each at 5% make up the top 10 destinations.

“There is also growing contingent of non-diaspora vacationers who will visit leisure destinations in India during the period. India is also emerging as a transit hub for a lot of travellers headed to south-east Asia,” said Ankit Chaturvedi, the company’s vice president and global head of marketing.

The US is the most booked outbound leisure travel destination for Indians with 17% of all bookings, primarily travellers visiting family there. This figure is 12% higher than the year-ago period.

While inbound tourism is recovering still to its pre-covid numbers, India’s outbound tourism market is poised for significant growth, with projections indicating a reach of $42 billion by 2024. This expansion is driven by a growing population and a rising number of passport holders, with approximately 80 million Indians now possessing travel documents.

A 2019 study by consulting firm Nangia Andersen LLP and the Ficci lobby group revealed that Indians spent $22.9 billion on outbound trips that year. Europe emerges as a prime destination, attracting 20% of Indian traveler traffic, while another 10% venture to Australia and New Zealand. Southeast Asia also captures a substantial portion of Indian outbound tourism.

Source : Mint