Skift Take

The idea of a ski destination actively pursuing its target audience in India might have appeared unconventional in the past. India, known for its diverse climates and predominantly warm regions, is not typically associated with skiing. However, the tourism sector has now undergone a remarkable shift, turning Indians into a coveted audience for a variety of experiences.

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As India’s outbound travel market gears up to reach $45 billion by 2032, there is a growing focus on high-spending travelers coming from the country.

Recently, representatives from the Courchevel tourism board visited India to promote the destination. Courchevel, a French ski destination nestled in the heart of the Alps, is renowned for its extended ski season and excellent snow cover throughout the Alps.

Skift spoke to the Courchevel team to gain insight into the destination’s interest in India.

Markets: While Courchevel continues to attract visitors from traditional ski markets, including the French and British markets, the Middle East and India are also promising, according to Alexia Laine, general manager of Courchevel Tourisme.

Indians and Ski? Following the Covid-19 crisis and the reopening of borders, there’s been an almost 50% increase in Indian tourists visiting Courchevel, Laine said to Skift. “India is our largest market in Asia with the maximum number of Indian travelers visiting Courchevel in March,” she said.

Not Really An Expensive Destination: Laine is particularly cautious about categorizing Courchevel solely as an “expensive destination.” She emphasizes that Courchevel offers a diverse range of accommodations that cater to various budgets. “We see Indian tourists either opting for a €500 ($533) apartment for four people for a week or indulging in a stay at an ultra-luxurious palace.”

Summer Destination? Though Courchevel is a popular winter getaway, it aims to be an all-year-round destination. Laine said this would be particularly interesting for many Indians who plan their holidays during summer.

Connectivity: For the convenience of tourists since last mile connectivity is essential, Laine said that tourists usually fly into international airports like Geneva in Switzerland or Lyon in France, which is well connected to Courchevel.

Indian Markets and Awareness: While Mumbai and Delhi are the main markets for the destination in India, the tourism board is actively working to build awareness in other regions as well.

To facilitate the connection between the destination and discerning travelers, Courchevel tourism has been working with One Rep Global since this year as its partner in India.

Popularizing the Destination: Courchevel’s charm lies in its exclusivity, and according to Hemant Mediratta, founder and CEO of One Rep Global, his team is striving to showcase the destination’s ski facilities, chalets and gourmet cuisine through customized marketing campaigns.

“We have established partnerships with leading travel agencies and tour operators who specialize in luxury travel.”

The tourism board is also investing in training sessions and familiarization trips to provide travel companies with first-hand information about the destination.

“We maintain a continuous feedback loop with our partners in the travel trade to guide us in fine-tuning our strategies and offerings,” said Mediratta.

Indian Outbound Potential: Increasing disposable income, a burgeoning middle class, and a growing appetite for international travel has made the Indian outbound travel market one of the biggest in Asia.

When asked about the most prominent emerging outbound tourism market, our AI chatbot, Ask Skift, highlighted India.

In 2022, India recorded approximately 10 million foreign trips, marking the first time it surpassed China, South Korea, and Japan in generating the highest volume of outbound travel in Asia.

Diwali Boosts Inbound Arrivals for India

This Diwali will see 11% higher international arrivals in India with a significant push from visiting friends and relatives’ traffic, according to a new report published by Adara.

Diwali marks a time when the Indian diaspora travels back to the country to celebrate the festival with friends and family.

Top Source Markets Into India:

  • Singapore
  • U.S.
  • Australia
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Canada
  • UAE
  • UK
  • Malaysia
  • Qatar
  • New Zealand

Booking Windows: The booking window for inbound travel during Diwali averaged at 57.69 days. The report noted a continuous rise in advance flight booking window since 2019. While it reflects the increased confidence among travelers, the report also noted that the rise in airline ticket prices is another reason travelers choose to book flights in advance when they are more economical.       

Shorter Vacations: The average length of stay during Diwali has been decreasing for the last two years. The report notes that 60% of the bookings this year account for more than 10 days compared to 73% last year. There is an increase in the share of bookings for 7-10-day trips from 10% in 2022 to 19% in 2023.

Before India goes into its longest festive break this year, here’s some data culled out from Cleartrip to report on the booking trends for Diwali travel.

Cleartrip notes that bookings for this year’s Diwali saw an increase of approximately 31% compared to last year.

Luxury hotels (4-star and 5-star) accounted for approximately 56% of bookings, but non-premium hotels (2-star and 3-star) have a higher demand, comprising around 62% of total demand.

The stay duration with the highest number of bookings for Diwali is over 5 days.

Air bookings spiked by 17% in 2023 Diwali compared to 2022 as fares increased by approximately 6%.

Top Hotel Destinations

International: Dubai, Singapore, Bangkok, Pattaya and Abu Dhabi.

Domestic: New Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Goa.

Top Flights Destinations

International: Dubai, Singapore, London, Bangkok and Doha

Domestic: New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata and Hyderabad.


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Tags: adara, Alps, booking windows, cleartrip, diwali, France tourism, holiday travel, india, india outbound, luxury hotels, Luxury Retreats, ski resorts, skift india report

Photo credit: Courchevel tourism recently visited India to promote the destination. Manosainz / Pixabay

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