India’s rapidly evolving economy has brought about unprecedented growth in the Indian outbound travel market. As one of the fastest-growing nations in the world and home to a population of 1.2 billion, India’s economy continued to strengthen even during the global recession. Amid the backdrop of this economic prosperity, rising incomes and robust consumer confidence have raised consumers’ propensity to travel overseas. Seasoned travellers now take several trips each year, while the possibility of an annual foreign trip is de rigueur among the middle classes living in cities. The volume of first-time travellers heading abroad, enticed by affordable travel products, is also a major driving force in the outbound market.
According to the Indian Ministry of Tourism (MOT), the number of departures by Indian nationals reached 13 million in 2010. In the absence of official data, Mintel estimates the market continued to grow by 11% in 2011, reaching 14.5 million. Although India’s economy proved stable in 2009, the global recession forced a cutback in overseas trips in this year, when the market grew by just 1.8%.
The expansion of affordable flights between India and foreign countries has spearheaded growth in outbound travel. Asia is the most visited continent, although Europe and North America also receive a sizeable amount of visitors. The top ten Asian destinations alone accounted for 30% of all outbound departures in 2010.