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Destinations are betting big on India’s travel market. With a growing economy, young population, and rising middle class, the country is positioned to become one of the most lucrative outbound tourism markets in the world.

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Last week, Australia’s High Commissioner to India, Philip Green said India became the first country to return to and surpass pre-pandemic levels of travel to Australia. 

Skift caught up with Nishant Kashikar, country manager of India and Gulf at Tourism Australia, to talk about the factors aiding tourism growth from India.

Here’s what we found out…

  • India is the fourth largest source market for Australia in terms of visitor arrivals (from July 2022-June 2023) — a jump from being the seventh largest source market pre-Covid, in 2019. 
  • For the year ended June 2023, visitation of Indian travelers to Australia is 3% higher than pre-Covid level with 383,000 visitors this year, said Kashikar.

Indian Travelers Spend: The amount Indian tourists spent during a holiday in Australia is up by 16% as compared to pre-Covid level. 

“Indians spent $1.3 billion (Rs 11,000 crore) during the year, up 16% over pre-Covid levels. In terms of spend, India has now become the fifth largest market, from the pre-pandemic levels of the sixth largest one,” said Kashikar.

Increase in Aviation Capacity: The 3x rise in direct weekly flights on the India-Australia route compared to pre-Covid level has been a major contributing factor to the growth of India as a source market for Australia. 

Compared to the seven direct weekly flights between the countries, Kashikar said there are now 22 direct weeklies on the route, including the Qantas Airways’ Bengaluru-Sydney flight launched last year. 

The current schedule of 22 flights is also likely to increase to 25 flights per week from the first week of October due to Qantas’ expansion of its capacity out of Bengaluru and Delhi. 

Easing of Visa Norms

  • Australia has started giving three-year multiple-entry visas to tourists in India without any need for physical submission of documents. 
  • The duration of business visas has been increased by up to five years, as compared to the earlier three-year visa.

Visitor Profiles: Among Indian travelers visiting Australia, Kashikar revealed 61% were by friends and family, 14% were on holiday, and 9% were on business trips. Employment and education had a 7% and 5% share respectively. 

Ixigo Launches New Feature Offering Full Refund on Select International Flight Bookings

Online travel company Ixigo has rolled out its free cancellation feature, Ixigo Assured, for select international flight bookings. The feature allows a full refund of fees for cancellations made by travelers, for any reason at a starting price of $7.20 per passenger.

Earlier, Ixigo Assured was available only for domestic flight bookings at a starting price point of $4.80. 

How Does it Work? Ixigo Assured users will be eligible for a full refund upon cancellation of their bookings up to 24 hours before their scheduled departure time, following which Ixigo initiates the refunds instantly. 

Booming Outbound Travel: International leisure flight bookings from India increased by 40% for trips between June and August compared to the same period in 2022, according to RateGain. A Nangia Andersen report forecasts that India’s outbound tourism is expected to reach $44.7 billion by 2032

Free cancellation products like Ixigo Assured further boosts outbound travelers from India, which is fast becoming the new China for international travel. 

IndiGo, British Airways Sign Codeshare Pact; Adds 3 More UK Routes from October 12

IndiGo and British Airways have announced a new codeshare agreement through which British Airways will add more routes to the existing IndiGo network to improve travel connectivity between India and the UK.

New Routes: From October 12, British Airways will add additional routes of Thiruvananthapuram to London’s Heathrow via Mumbai, Rajkot to Heathrow via Mumbai and Vadodara to Heathrow via Mumbai, IndiGo said in a statement.

Existing Connections:

  • Amritsar to London’s Heathrow via New Delhi
  • Kochi to Heathrow via Mumbai
  • Ahmedabad to Heathrow via Mumbai
  • Goa to Heathrow via Mumbai 
  • Kolkata to Heathrow via Mumbai

How Passengers Can Benefit: This agreement allows customers to connect to their destination on a single ticket to and from Heathrow. 

All British Airways passengers will be able to enjoy a complimentary meal and UK baggage allowance of two check-in bags of 23 kg per person via codeshare for flights to India on the connecting IndiGo flight as well.

Indian Hotels Company Unveils Taj The Trees in Mumbai

Tata Group-owned Indian Hotels Company (IHCL) has opened Taj The Trees in Mumbai, an eco-sensitive hotel and the fifth Taj property in Mumbai.

The company has partnered with Indian conglomerate Godrej Group for the development of the 151-key green power hotel.

New Projects: The company recently signed a Taj Hotel in Frankfurt, Germany under an operating lease arrangement. It also opened a 125-room WOW Crest, an IHCL SeleQtions hotel in Indore in the central state of Madhya Pradesh. Additionally, Indian Hotels Company’s homestay portfolio Amã Stays & Trails opened its 75th bungalow at Anjanagiri Estate in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. 

Portfolio: With the addition of this hotel, IHCL will have 12 hotels in Mumbai with two under development.

Oyo Records 20% Revenue Growth from Business Travel Between January and July

Oyo recorded a 20% revenue growth from business travel in January-July, against the year-ago period. Oyo’s Business Travel Trends Report 2023 revealed the company also added nearly 2800 corporate clients during the period, up 12% year-on-year. 

Oyo onboarded 2471 corporate clients in the same period last year.

Leading Cities: 

  1. Hyderabad (660) 
  2. Gurugram (593) 
  3. Delhi (343) 
  4. Bengaluru (315) 
  5. Mumbai (282) 
  6. Kolkata (268) 
  7. Pune (218) 

What Led to Growth? The growth was led by a strong demand from start-ups, film production houses, travel management companies, small and medium scale enterprises, and traditional business houses and conglomerates, the report said.

“Growth in corporate accounts can be attributed to our focus on partnerships and collaborations. Our engagement with businesses and travel managers has empowered the company to design solutions that simplify the booking process, enhance cost savings, and ensure a seamless travel experience for corporate guests,” said Varun Jain, chief operating officer of India Business at Oyo.

Vistara to Fly Mumbai-Frankfurt Direct from November 15

Vistara, a joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, will launch six-weekly flights between Mumbai and Frankfurt from November 15. The airline already operates a six-weekly service between Delhi and Frankfurt.

It will also start direct flights between the national capital of Delhi and Hong Kong from October 29.

Aircraft: The airline will operate 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft featuring a three-class configuration on the route, it said in a statement. 

Operations: Over the past year, Vistara has added several new domestic and international connections from Mumbai leading to a 42% increase in the number of departures from the city.

The airline now connects Mumbai to a total of 12 international destinations, including Abu Dhabi, Bangkok, Colombo, Dammam, Dhaka, Dubai, Jeddah, London Heathrow, Male, Mauritius, Muscat and Singapore.


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: british airways, india, Indian Hotels Company, indigo, itc hotels, ixigo, oyo, qantas airways, skift india report, tourism australia, vistara

Photo credit: Australia has started giving three-year multiple-entry visas to tourists in India. S O C I A L . C U T / Unsplash

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