Home / News / India /  Travellers from UK, US showing more interest in coming to India, says report

New Delhi: As international travel inches back to normalcy, data from a travel search engine shows that flight searches between July last year and January this year for travel to India have surpassed pre-pandemic levels. According to a report by Booking Holdings Inc-owned Kayak, overall traffic has grown about 29% compared to the same period in 2019, the last best year before the covid-19 pandemic hit.

Indicating restored confidence in international travel, the data also shows that the country’s efforts to attract tourists are showing results, the company said. “This is positive for India’s tourism sector, which has been amplifying its efforts to grow inbound travel from not just traditional source markets, but expanding its promotion further across the globe," said Tarun Tahiliani, India country manager of the company.

The US has long been one of India’s most prominent tourism source markets, with searches for flights until the end of this year growing about 21% compared to the same pre-pandemic period.

Increases in flight searches from other European countries are also on the upswing, with the UK having a spike in flight searches of about 48% and France increasing by around 22%. There was also strong growth from Canada, up around 63%, and Australia increasing by around 60% compared to 2019.

It is likely that a lot of the Indian diaspora would be considering visiting friends and family here, since India’s major international inflow comes from that cohort.

“We are seeing a global trend, where travellers want to experience new, unique and different things. And so they are looking beyond the usual favourites to see what else India has to offer. This is very positive for many local tourism players, as more eyes are turned to their offerings, linking the tourism and experience economies," added Tahiliani.

India’s top 10 most searched destinations by international travellers in 2023 were New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Kochi and Goa, among others.

Currently, of the total tourist traffic in India, in volume terms, only 7.1% is inbound travel. The Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality (Faith), representing tourism, travel, and hospitality industry bodies, said it hopes this would increase to 15.9% by 2035. This could drive revenues from inbound tourists up from 9.9% in 2019 to 13.2% by that year, it said. As per Statista, India saw 17.91 million foreign tourist arrivals in 2019, a large chunk of which also included people of Indian origin.

Varuni Khosla
Varuni Khosla is a journalist with close to 14 years of experience in writing business news stories for mainstream newspaper companies like Mint and The Economic Times. She reports and writes on luxury and lifestyle brands, hospitality and tourism news, the business of sports, the business of advertising and marketing and alcohol brands.
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