India is estimated to generate 6.5 Million outbound luxury and MICE tourists annually by 2020, reinforcing the country’s influence as a key source market for MICE and luxury travel, according to figures published ahead of the 5th Annual MICE India and Luxury Travel Congress (MILT).
The projected market growth accounts for the Ministry of Tourism’s official outbound tourism figures, specifically for India’s current 1.5 million outbound MICE travellers and 3.6 million outbound luxury travellers. As calculated by Mastercard, both markets are forecast to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 8.6% to 2020.
Supporting travel and tourism businesses as they capitalize on the growth potential, Dubai-based B2B event specialist QnA Global is the organizer of the 5th Annual MILT Congress, which is all set to take the Indian MICE & luxury travel industry by storm yet again on the 27th & 28th of July at the Hyatt Regency in Mumbai and on the 1st & 2nd August at Andaz by Hyatt in Delhi NCR.
In 2016, the GCC witnessed an unprecedented spike in arrivals from India, with both Dubai and Abu Dhabi naming the country their top source market for the year. There was an increase of 15% in the arrivals from India in 2016, following a 20% rise in 2015, according to official tourism figures published by Dubai’s DTCM and Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, respectively.
Outbound Marketing Pvt Ltd is a marketing representative company working with tourism businesses looking to boost revenue from Indian arrivals. Representing Melia International, Corinthia Hotels and Resorts, Sun Lux Collection and the UAE’s Meydan Hospitality and Hotels, Managing Director, Outbound Marketing Pvt Ltd, Vasudha Sondhi commented: “The largest and fastest growing segments in India’s outbound market are large groups, weddings, incentives and events. Only a decade ago, these segments were low yield business but economic growth in India has changed things and now these segments, along with budget, are high yield business.”
In 2009 and 2013, Sands Resorts Macao, hosted the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards and has previously been the venue for Star Pariwar and Zee Cine Awards.
Stephanie Tanpure, Vice President of Sales at the resort, said: “India is one of our key markets for leisure and MICE travellers and our goal is to continue to develop and drive this market even further. Sands Resorts Macao has been catering to the Indian market for a long time. We know the kind of expectations Indian travellers have in terms of hospitality and we meet that demand through our service.
Resonating a similar line of thought, Steen Jakobsen, Director, Dubai Business Events and City Operation, stated, “In 2015, India became Dubai’s number one source market for overnight visitors. Figures released by the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing reported 1.8 million overnight tourists had travelled from India to Dubai in 2016, and in the first quarter of 2017, India was the first ever market to record nearly 580,000 visitors in any one-quarter, with a massive 23 per cent growth in arrivals between January and March.”
In 2016, India ranked as the fastest growing outbound business travel market of any country in the world, with the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) reporting spending in this segment increased 5.4% over the year. Not only is the market growing in volume and value but, following the introduction of more direct flights to key cities across the world, Indian travellers now venture further than ever before.
For example, arrivals in Sweden have increased steadily over recent years and, with 740,000 tourists arriving from India in April 2017, the country remains as one of the top 10 source markets in the world. (Source: Trading Economics)
Commenting on the trend, Dag Kastensson, President and CEO of Scandinavian destination management company SNE Northern Europe, said: “The number of Indian visitors to Sweden has grown significantly during the last few years. I believe it will continue to grow thanks to our attractive cities, nature and the fact that Stockholm is considered to be a modern and progressive city, well ahead in IT, software, music and fashion. According to the Swedish Tourist Board, many Indian visitors also wish to be active during their vacation, and Scandinavia is the perfect place for this.”
Data published by Skyscanner named Singapore, Australia and Malaysia as the most searched for destinations by Indian travellers, with growth at 202%, 67% and 46% respectively, Year-to-Date (YTD).
As countries around the world continue their efforts to attract the Indian market to their destination, marketing spends have increased aggressively with the aim to improve brand visibility. According to Anastasia Glushenkova, Regional MICE & Corporate Sales Manager, Rixos Hotels Turkey, India is emerging as a popular market since the past 2 years for Turkey and especially the Antalya region. “Rixos Hotels is targeting the Indian market as it’s matching requirements of the RFP’s from MICE & Luxury Leisure segment, along with the expectations of our properties in revenue, length of stay and rooms amount”, she added.
Sasha Arsheela, Director of Malaysia-based Tropical Charters, said: “Malaysia welcomed 1.5 Million MICE tourists in 2016 from all over the world and a total of 400,000 tourists for MICE and Weddings to the island of Langkawi. There has been an increase over the years and we are now currently the sixth top destination for business meetings in Asia Pacific for the last three consecutive years.”
“At MILT Congress we are looking to target corporate groups from India for incentive programs, as well as destination weddings. For the longest time people have been opting for Bali or Phuket but we want to show people how magical Langkawi, Malaysia, can be. Being product owners of a fleet of yachts on the island, weather you are a corporate or a wedding party we will make your dream destination into one big party and an event for you to remember for a lifetime”, she added.
Ackash Jain, Director, QnA Global said, “The growth we see in the Indian market is unmatched. India has emerged as the world’s fastest growing outbound market second only to China. The growth of the Indian outbound travel industry is at a very exciting phase, and we continue to cater to this dynamic and lucrative segment.”
“The 5th Annual MICE India and Luxury Travel Congress will provide an interactive networking platform for global travel and tourism suppliers to meet new clients and business partners, and also learn about the key trends shaping this important time in India’s evolution as a source market,” he added.