Expect cruise tourism to go big in 2 years; niche market set to grow, notes Neelu Singh

Tourism is in for heady days, believes Neelu Singh, CEO, Ezeego1.com. The focus on infrastructure, success of RCS-UDAN in adding new destinations on the aviation map, and improving port infra are equally expected to contribute to a well-rounded growth in travel and tourism in 2019 and beyond. She writes on the big trends in the market right now.

Neelu Singh
CEO, Ezeego1.com

With a prediction of becoming the third largest aviation market by 2025, India is set to surpass countries including the UK, Japan, Germany and Australia. UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik), the Indian Government’s visionary project has been a great leap for the aviation industry to provide connectivity to remote areas and enhance access in under-served regions. The scheme has enabled the government to add new airports on the aviation map in tier-2 and tier-3 cities under round one and two. Also, with players like Vistara and Air Asia India increasing frequencies on existing as well as new routes, the air traffic growth rate for both domestic and international has remained positive.

Despite the slowdown in the past, the hotel industry has picked up the volume with hotels recording over 65% occupancy in 2016-17 for the first time since 2007. Through April 2018, tourism bookings for the hotel industry in India have increased by 17.4% over revenues generated from the previous year.  With hotels focusing on Meetings, Incentives, Conferences & Events (MICE) demand and playing host to both Domestic and International business, occupancy levels are continually improving. The development of midscale and budget hotels are also going to fuel the growth in demand from the Leisure segment and will continue to see a spurt during holidays and extended weekends.

Our ports are opening up to international and domestic tourists. Robust infrastructure development complemented with competitive travel products will ensure further impetus to port tourism. Cruising is going to be big in the next two years.

Indian travellers have become more adventurous and evolved in both domestic as well as international travel. Now they go beyond the regular vanilla packages and usual tourist attractions and seek unique experiences in their travel. Luxury, health and spa, gourmet, adventure are some of the categories that are doing really well among the well-heeled Indian travellers.

Indians are opening up to new experiences. Self-drive vacations, cruise holidays, culinary vacations are just to name a few. Even the number of days spent by Indians has increased.  There is a shift from one single summer vacation to multiple short holidays as millennials take on the role of key influencers.  Indian travellers have more choices and make more informed decisions. This has resulted in a more competitive and evolved industry.

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