European destinations have predictably missed out on being included in the list of preferred outbound travel choices from India for the summer. Retrograde visa policies have effectively ensured that these destinations lag behind in the competition to attract Indian travelers.
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International leisure flight bookings from India have increased by 40 percent for trips between June and August compared to the same period in 2022, according to travel solutions provider RateGain. In its latest Pulse report powered by Adara, RateGain said this represents the highest level of outbound leisure flight bookings from India in the post-Covid years, even as demand is still 15-20 percent lower than highs in 2019.
Singapore received the highest flight bookings from India, followed by San Francisco, Melbourne, Toronto, and Bali, according to the report. U.S., Canada and UK are the most booked destinations for the period while Bali and Singapore are the most popular choices in Asia. Thailand remained the top destination choice of leisure travelers while destinations like Qatar and United Arab Emirates were mostly booked for business travel.
Family travelers exhibited a significant preference for high-priced accommodations, with a little less than 20 percent of them booking hotels with an average daily rate exceeding $400. Family travelers booked twice as many rooms with an average daily rate greater than $400 compared to couples.
A report published by tourism consultancy and research firm IPK International had highlighted that India had generated Asia’s highest outbound travel volume for the first time in 2022, with foreign trips exceeding those of China, South Korea, and Japan.
Agoda CEO Omri Morgenshtern during his recent visit to the country had said that India could rank among the top three markets for outbound travel in the coming years. That’s a sentiment echoed in Skift Megatrends 2023, in which we reported “India could become the new China.” for outbound tourism. An earlier report titled “Outbound Travel and Tourism – An Opportunity Untapped” by Nangia Andersen has said that outbound trips from India would surpass $42 billion by 2024.
Tata Group-owned Indian Hotels Company (IHCL) has announced the opening of a 118-key Taj Gandhinagar Resort & Spa in the western state of Gujarat. With the addition of this hotel, IHCL will have 21 hotels across Taj, SeleQtions, Vivanta and Ginger brands across the state, including four under development. The company recently signed a 125-key SeleQtions-branded hotel in Indore in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh and a franchise agreement with Chalet Hotels for its upcoming hotel at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport’s Terminal 3. IHCL reported its highest-ever full year consolidated revenue and a profit after tax of $122 million — a historic first for the company.
Indian aviation watchdog Directorate General of Civil Aviation has asked crisis-hit Go First to submit a comprehensive restructuring plan for the revival of its operations, according to news agency Press Trust of India. The regulator has also asked the airline to furnish the status of availability of operational aircraft, pilots and other personnel, maintenance arrangements and funding, among other details. It will then review the revival plan for further appropriate action after the airline submits it. The budget carrier, which is undergoing a voluntary insolvency resolution process, stopped flying on May 3. Earlier this month, Indian bankruptcy court National Company Law Tribunal admitted Go First’s plea for voluntary insolvency and granted it protection under a moratorium from its lessors as well as various lenders. The airline blamed “faulty” Pratt & Whitney engines for the grounding of about half its fleet.
Having completed a $9 million Series-B round of funding, Singapore-headquartered Zuzu Hospitality Solutions aims to double its partner count with a keen focus on India. The travel tech startup wants to achieve a milestone of 5,000 partners by the end of next year and further scale to 10,000 by 2025. To achieve this, Founder and CEO Vikram Malhi said the company would dedicate significant resources to expanding its operations, particularly in India, which is its newest market. “India holds immense growth potential, and we believe that by scaling up in this market, we can establish a strong presence and capitalize on the opportunities it presents,” he said.
Mumbai-based property developer Oberoi Realty is currently in discussions with global hospitality giants Marriott International and Grand Hyatt to develop a 300-key five-star hotel property in Thane in the western state of Maharashtra, an Indian daily reported. The property will be part of an integrated project spanning approximately 75 acres. This will mark the first establishment of a five-star hotel in Thane, situated near the financial capital Mumbai. Encompassing a total built-up area of 15 million square feet, the integrated development will include premium residential, office and retail projects, along with an international school. The company is expected to invest around $1.2 billion to develop the project in phases. Investments in Indian hospitality are likely to surpass $2.3 billion over the next two to five years, according to real estate consulting firm CBRE South Asia’s latest report.
Low-cost carrier SpiceJet has announced a substantial salary hike of its captains to $9,080 per month for 75 hours of flying. Meanwhile, the salaries of trainers and first officers have also been increased commensurately. Earlier in November, the airline had earlier revised salaries for its pilots wherein the salary of captains had been raised to $8,475 a month for 80 hours of flying. Additionally, the airline has announced a tenure-linked monthly loyalty reward for its captains of up to $1,210 per month which would be over and above their monthly remuneration. SpiceJet, which is currently facing financial headwinds, aims to bring four of its grounded aircraft — two Boeing 737s and two Bombardier Q400s — back into service by June 15.
Marriott International’s Fairfield by Marriott has announced the opening of a 98-room Fairfield by Marriott Agra in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The hotel is located just 3.7 miles away from the Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The hospitality major is planning to launch its select hotel brand Moxy in the country by 2024. Marriott expects to open Moxy Bangalore Airport Prestige Tech Cloud and Moxy Mumbai Andheri West in 2024.
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Photo credit: International leisure flight bookings from India have increased by 40 percent for bookings between June and August compared to 2022. Source: DreamLens Production/Pexels DreamLens Production / Pexels