India is the next big travel market
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India is the next big travel market

Everyone knows how powerful the trend towards travel and travel retail is in China: in 2016, the country’s tourists accounted for a massive $261 billion in overseas spending – that’s a fifth of the global total! China might be the biggest spender, but it’s not the only one – fellow-developing market India is following suite. The country now has 250 young middle class consumers, replete with iPhones and Facebook accounts. And in just 10 years, the World Travel & Tourism Council expects the country to be the fourth largest travel and tourism economy in the world (1, 2, and 3 are China, the U.S., and Germany, respectively).

India is seeing a swell in the numbers of foreigners visiting its shores: 20 years ago, the country saw around 2.4 million international tourists. In 2017, that number had almost quintupled. But international tourists are just the tip of the iceberg: now, almost 90% of travellers in India are Indian. That’s a reliable sign that the population has embraced the sector, and has enough money and know-how to take it beyond national boundaries.

It’s easy to see why India is becoming a tourism hotspot: the country has 36 world heritage sites, 103 national parks, and a dazzling array of other cultural attractions, including one of the seven wonders of the world! In 2017, this market was worth $230 billion – that’s up from $209 billion in 2016. Another big draw for India is be its jungles and wildlife: it’s hard to imagine anywhere better poised to take advantage of the adventure travel market, which is expected to grow to $1.3 billion by 2023.

Ahmed Chamanwala, founder of wildlife lodge Fringe Ford, said: “Indians are discovering their own country. In our initial years, most of our tourists were inbound travelers. But over the years we have seen an increase in the domestic weekend travelers from the major cities in India. Now the business is more dependent on the Indian market.”

Dominion holds a number of travel-related companies in its Global Trends Luxury Fund.

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