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After a decline for more than two years, business travel seems to be gaining traction. But can it sustain the momentum in the face of global recession and growing inflation?

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Cited as the number one reason for corporate travel, face-to-face meetings and events are primarily driving corporate travel, according to FCM Consultancy’s Global Quarterly Trend Report

Accommodation: Prices of hotels in Asia increased by an average of 26% during the first quarter of 2023, with Bengaluru being the most expensive at $190 a night, followed by Delhi at $150 a night. 

Airfares: Economy fares from Mumbai to Delhi have increased by 15% and business by 9%. Economy fares from Mumbai to London have gone up by 26% in economy (the highest increase in Asia) and 20% in business.

Back with a Bang: A survey conducted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research revealed that a majority of Indian businesses (67%) anticipate an increase in business travel this year with 77% of businesses planning to raise their travel budget.

In fact, India is one of the few markets that is recovering faster than others when it comes to business travel.

“The rapid surge back to in-person events has been a challenge for venues, hotels, airlines, and event planners. Travel constraints, capacity issues, labor shortages, supply chain issues and travel disruptions are all easing, but they are factors that are not expected to fully stabilize until 2024 highlighting opportunities for further growth,” said Manpreet Bindra, president of FCM India Meeting & Events.  

New York City to Host Over 300,000 Indians This Year

New York City is hoping to welcome 306,000 travelers from India this year, said Tiffany Townsend, executive vice president of global communications at New York City Tourism and Conventions. This comes just a day after American carrier United Airlines said it will increase its flight frequency between Delhi and New York/Newark from once to twice daily, starting October 29. 

What Makes India a Key Inbound Travel Market?

  • India is ranked at 10th position among the top 10 international source markets for New York City, after the UK, Canada, France, Brazil, Spain, Germany, Mexico, Italy and Australia.
  • The Indian visitor market leans heavily into the ‘Visiting Friends and Relatives’ trips, which can be attributed to the high percentage of international students and residents in the U.S. and Canada.
  • India ranked as the fourth highest spending international market with a spending of $700 million in New York City, mostly on hotel accommodations, dining out, entertainment and shopping.
  • New York City as a meetings, incentives, conferences and events destination is of growing interest to the Indian market, with recently expanding venues like Javits Center and many creative hotel conference facilities and meeting spaces.

FabHotels Adds 100+ Premium Properties to Make Luxury Stay Affordable

Budget hotel chain FabHotels has added more than 100 premium properties to its collection.

Hotel Portfolio: FabHotel, FabHotel Prime, and FabEscape.

Future Plans: The company is looking to expand its portfolio to over 250 premium properties by December this year.

How Does it Function? Founded in 2014, FabHotels operates through franchising arrangements with budget hotels across more than 80 Indian cities. 

Top-Selling Premium Hotels: FabHotel Prime Sapphire Boutique, FabHotel Prime Wego in Mumbai, FabHotel Prime The Pamposh in Delhi, and FabHotel Prime Ivy Studio, Pune.

In June 2019, the company raised about $7.8 million Series B1 investment round led by Goldman Sachs, Qualcomm Ventures, and Accel Partners India.

Airlines’ Domestic Demand Jumped Over 14% in June

Indian airlines’ domestic demand climbed 14.8% in June, according to the International Air Transport Association’s latest market analysis report. Notably, this surge pushed the demand levels 1.3% above those of June 2019, showcasing a swift resurgence for the Indian aviation sector.

Domestic revenue passenger-kilometers growth by market, YoY% change versus 2019.

On the Cusp of an Aviation Boom

  • A revival in domestic air travel to nearly pre-pandemic level propelled India to the big leagues of major aviation markets.
  • In the financial year 2023, India’s aviation system handled just fewer than 200 million airline passengers, while 12.9 million passengers took to the skies in India in March, according to aviation watchdog Directorate General of Civil Aviation
  • In the first quarter of 2023, around 37.5 million people took domestic flights, making it the best first quarter ever for Indian aviation.

Aviation consultancy and research firm CAPA India called for a new aviation policy for the sector to achieve its true long-term potential.

France to Offer Five-Year Schengen Visa for Indian Alumni

A few days after France announced a longer post study work visa for Indian students in France, the European country is now offering a five-year short-stay Schengen visa for Indian alumni who have even spent just a semester in France.

Who is Eligible?

  • Applicants must have studied in France for at least one semester, and must have reached Master’s degree level or above at a recognized university in India, France or a third country. 
  • These candidates will also need to submit a duly completed visa application fully compliant with the usual Schengen requirements.

France aims to welcome 30,000 students from India by 2030, the French embassy said. Additionally, a ‘Choose France Tour 2023’ will be held in different parts of India during October to spread the message.

Thomas Cook Launches New Cruise Itineraries 

Thomas Cook India and its group company SOTC Travel have launched a range of cruise holidays — from short cruise getaways/weekenders, river cruises, Polar cruises (Arctic/Antarctica), round-the-world cruises and more. 

Pricing: $266 for a two-night sailing to over $13282 on a 14-day Antarctica cruise.

Consumer Trends: While globally cruising is predominantly a market for senior citizens, it is India’s Gen Z, millennials and young working professionals that are displaying a strong appetite for cruises

International Cruises: Costa Toscana voyages (starting December) to the UAE, Oman, Doha; Resorts World Cruises and Royal Caribbean Cruises (Singapore; Hong Kong); mid- to long-haul destinations onboard Royal Caribbean Cruises and Norwegian cruises in Europe (Greece, Italy, Croatia, Spain, Portugal, The Canary Islands and Scandinavia’s fjords). Cruises in the Americas include Alaskan and Mexican Riviera sailings of the Norwegian Cruise Line.

Thomas Cook India and SOTC’s India Holiday Report 2023, released in May, highlighted unique trends, including a 70% surge in cruise holidays. 

Thomas Cook and SOTC’s India Holiday Report 2023.

Germany Sees 209% Rise in Indian Tourists in 2022

Germany reported a 209% increase in overnight stays by Indians in 2022 compared to the previous year, according to data from the German National Tourist Board.

Still Below Pre-Pandemic Levels: In 2022, Indians spent a total of 623,363 nights in Germany and are yet to reach the record level of 961,656 in 2019.

“We have already reached 65% of the 2019 level, leaving room for continuous growth as Indians return to traveling,” said Romit Theophilus, director of the German National Tourist Office in India.

International Travel Trends: Flight searches increased by 24% for the monsoon season between June and August, according to Kayak’s latest insights. The increased travel interest comes despite a surge in airfares, up an average 11% for international airfares.

New Skift Research on India’s Travel Boom 

The new Skift Research report, India on the Move: A Traveler Survey, captures the spirit of a nation in motion, where its status as the world’s most populous country aligns with a surging desire among its people to explore new horizons. 

What You’ll Learn from this Report

  • Dream destinations of Indians and factors that influence their destination choice
  • Aspects of the travel planning stage including travel duration, preferred travel companions,  planning sources, and popular travel products
  • Booking patterns
  • In-destination travel behavior
  • Indian view on the economic condition and spending behavior

Within this report, we delve into distinct stages of the travel journey, deciphering customer perceptions and expenditure patterns, and offering pivotal lessons for destination management organizations and travel suppliers based on the collected survey data.​


Skift India Report

The Skift India Report is your go-to newsletter for all news related to travel, tourism, airlines, and hospitality in India.

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Tags: budget hotels, business travel, corporate travel, cruise, france, germany, iata, india, new york city, nyc, skift india report, skift research, thomas cook

Photo credit: Staff walking the floor of an event at a hotel in Bengalaru, India. Skift

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