The aviation and hospitality sector's growth, coupled with workforce expansion, is a sign of India’s recovering economy post-pandemic.
The Skift India Newsletter is your go-to platform for all news related to travel, tourism, airlines, and hospitality in India.
CMS Info Systems, a company providing logistics and technology solutions, has released consumption trends for the first half of the 2024 fiscal year (October 2023 to March 2024). The aviation and hospitality sectors are showing annual growth of 29.7% and 12.8%, respectively, for the period. The CMS report pointed to increased demand for travel, especially during events like the Cricket World Cup.
Cricket World Cup: India hosted the Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 after 12 years, from October 5 to November 19, 2023, and the travel industry benefitted from it. As reported by Skift, accommodation searches in host cities for match days have, on average, grown by 237% over the past year. The always much-awaited India vs. Pakistan match and the World Cup Finals were held in Ahmedabad. As a result, the city emerged as the frontrunner, with a 1,702% surge in stay searches.
The UK, U.S., Singapore, Australia, and Malaysia had topped the charts for inbound searches during the period. According to inbound flight search data from OTA Insight from October to November 2023, flight searches had grown significantly relative to 2022 in the months leading up to the World Cup.
Wedding season: Marriages were another avenue where the aviation and hospitality industry benefited. Indians consider weddings a grand event. According to the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), 3.5 million weddings were held between November 23 and December 15. This brought an estimated business of INR 4.25 trillion ($51 billion) this wedding season.
Workforce expansion: TeamLease Services, a staffing conglomerate in India, recently unveiled its latest “TeamLease Employment Outlook Report” for the second half of the fiscal year 2024. The report also focuses on trends within the travel and hospitality sector. The trends stated how the travel and hospitality sector shows robust growth in crucial hiring categories. There was a 68% incremental workforce expansion in the second half of the fiscal year.
Akasa Air Looks to Meet Rising Post-Pandemic Travel Demands
Airline Akasa Air recently welcomed two Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft to its growing fleet. With this, the airline exited the calendar year 2023 with a fleet size of 22 aircraft, including 21 Boeing 737 MAX 8 and one Boeing 737 MAX 8 200.
More Aircraft In Kitty? Meanwhile, according to a Mint report, Akasa Air is finalizing a deal for approximately 150 Boeing 737 MAX narrowbody planes. The same report stated that negotiations are underway among company executives to secure a favorable agreement.
The official declaration of the aircraft purchase is expected to occur at Wings India, the country’s largest civil aviation event scheduled for January 18-21. The new order for around 150 planes is speculated to include additional options for future purchases, per Reuters’ information.
Earlier, the airline had booked an order for 76 Boeing 737 MAX planes. The newest entrant in the list, Akasa garnered a market share of 4% since it started flying in 2022, against IndiGo’s 60% and Tata Group airlines’ combined 26%, Mint reported.
Background: Indian carriers are making concerted efforts to match the surge in demand resulting from the growing number of travelers post-pandemic. In June last year, Indigo ordered 500 Airbus narrowbody planes. Notably, this order surpassed Air India’s purchase of 470 combined jets from Airbus and Boeing earlier in the year.
Tiruchirappalli International Airport Gets New Terminal Building
A new terminal building at Tiruchirappalli International Airport in Tamil Nadu was inaugurated on Tuesday.
Developed at a cost of over $150 million, the two-level international terminal building can serve more than 4.4 million passengers annually.
The terminal aims to accommodate approximately 3,500 passengers during peak hours.
The new terminal is expected to increase connectivity to East Asia and the Middle East significantly. The terminal’s inauguration and an elevated road connecting the airport to national highways are anticipated to open new opportunities for investments, businesses, education, health, and tourism.
In Other News:
Starting January 1, 2024, Thiruvananthapuram International Airport transitioned to a ‘silent’ airport, offering passengers a noise-free travel experience, as announced in a statement by the airport on Wednesday.
EbixCash Reports 60% Growth
EbixCash reported a substantial 60% year-over-year growth in its corporate travel business for 2023. It Added 57 new clients in the large and mid-cap segment during the same period.
Earlier in December last year, Ebix Inc, the financial technology firm and parent company of EbixCash in India, filed for bankruptcy in a North Texas court. Naveen Kundu, the managing director of EbixCash travel group, had then told Skift that it is “business as usual” and that the U.S. filing would not affect its operations.
Airline Segment Performance: The group announced that it has seen an overall growth of approximately 40% in business with low-cost carriers.
- Year-over-year growth in the Global Distribution System (GDS) segments reached 37%.
- EbixCash Travel reported a year-on-year growth of 33% in its collaboration with the leading LCC carrier, Indigo.
- International passenger growth for India’s airline business experienced a year-on-year increase of 52%.
MICE & Event-Based Travel: Maintaining leadership in meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibitions (MICE), and event-based travel, EbixCash Travel achieved year-on-year revenue growth of around 25% across India.
- International MICE segment passenger growth soared by approximately 150% year-on-year.
- Combined domestic and international segment business witnessed a 47% year-on-year growth.
- This growth was primarily fueled by an 80% increase in new client acquisitions throughout 2023.
Inbound Business Highlights: EbixCash reported year-over-year growth in its overall inbound business, with a 287% increase in incoming passenger numbers. Overall revenue growth for inbound business reached 264%.
Bookmark Resorts Opens Jogi Mahal in Ranthambore
Hospitality’s luxury wellbeing hospitality brand, Bookmark Resorts, has recently inaugurated its second property, Bookmark Jogi Mahal Resort, in Ranthambore, Rajasthan. The 40-key boutique luxury resort spans across 3.74-acre area. The hotel’s first property was in Manali, Himachal Pradesh.
Ranthambore in Rajasthan is home to a national park spread over an area of 392 sq km. along with nearby sanctuaries like the Mansingh Sanctuary and Kaila Devi Sanctuary. As per the latest available data, the Ranthambore National Park had 431 million visitors yearly.
Several hotels and resorts are announcing the inauguration of new properties in India. Leading in this is the recent InterContinental Hotels Group signing of a management agreement announcement with XECO Media to bring a new Holiday Inn Resort to the city of Karjat in Maharashtra. Set to open in 2027, the resort will add 150 keys to IHG’s portfolio in the state.
India Plans First Submarine Tourism Facility in Gujarat
The Gujarat government has partnered with Mazgaon Dock Limited (MDL) to introduce India’s first submarine tourism. The project aims to explore the marine life around Bet Dwarka, a small island off the coast of Dwarka city in Gujarat.
The tourism facility is expected to be operational before Diwali 2024. According to the project, visitors will be brought in a submarine to experience underwater marine life 100 meters below the ocean’s surface. Each submarine will have two expert pilots and a qualified crew leading the way, accommodating 24 tourists each.
Tourists flock to Dwarka annually for its religious significance.
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Photo credit: Weddings brought an estimated business of INR 4.25 trillion ($51 billion) this season. Ayoub photographe / Pexels