While India has emerged as one of the top outbound travel origin countries, the country’s inbound tourism has still failed to reach 2019’s nearly 11 million foreign arrivals. According to the Ministry of Tourism, India received 6.2 million foreigners. tourists in 2022.
However, inbound travel in India is about to experience a 23% increase during the end-of-year holidays (from September to November), according to data shared with Skift by travel technology company RateGain.
Main source countries: Previews of Rate gain the data revealed that Australia is expected to be the main source country, followed closely by the United States, Singapore, Canada and the United Kingdom.
What is fueling this wave?
- Hosting the G20 in Delhi recently. Delhi and the National Capital Region saw a 40% increase in travel demand when they welcomed the G20 Summit earlier this month.
- The Cricket World Cup will take place in the country from October 5 to November 19.
The next Cricket World Cup also highlighted hotel request and accommodation search in host cities.
Rise in hotel rates: RateGain noted that hotel demand has exploded in cities hosting the Cricket World Cup. Ahmedabad, the host city of the much-anticipated India-Pakistan match, witnessed a staggering 308% increase in hotel prices. Dharamshala and Pune follow closely with price hikes of 300% and 360% respectively. Hyderabad with a growth rate of 230% and Chennai with 220% continue the trend.
RateGain noted that travelers should also extend their stay to explore host cities. Industry players such as Oyo should add 500 new hotels before the tournament begins to meet this demand.
In addition to hotels, the growing demand for alternative accommodation drove MakeMyTravel to expand its inventory of homestays.
And then the airfares: Airfares to prominent locations like Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Kolkata have increased 40%-60% over the past year, RateGain noted. Other host cities also see 20%-30% increase in flight prices. This surge in prices highlights the tremendous growth in travel demand.
IndiGo launches services to San Francisco via codeshare flights with Turkish Airlines
IndiGo announced the launch of its flights to San Francisco via Istanbul as part of a codeshare connection agreement with Turkish Airlinesthe airline said in a statement.
In his interaction with Skift earlier this yearPieter Elbers, CEO of Indigo, spoke at length about the codeshare agreement with Turkey and the carrier’s decision to serve some destinations in the United States.
Connections in the United States: Flights, efficient September 25now a link to five other destinations In the United States, IndiGo already provides connectivity to New York, Washington, Boston and Chicago.
International expansion: IndiGo’s own global network has expanded in recent months with flights to Central Asia (Tbilisi), Africa (Nairobi), Jakarta, Baku, Tashkent and Almaty.
India eyes greater share of tourism market for events and conferences
Inaugurating India’s largest convention center in Delhi this weekend, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the country’s ambition to expand its presence in the global market conference tourism industry, estimated at $310 billion.
Skift spoke to Samit Gargpresident of the Events and Entertainment Management Associationto assess what this would mean for the country and what it would take for India to access this market.
“India’s ambitious plan reflects its commitment to becoming a preferred destination for international conferences, conventions and business events. India is implementing several strategies to achieve this goal,” Garg said.
The strategies :
Infrastructure: India is investing heavily in developing world-class conference and convention centers in New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru.
“These venues are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and technology to host large-scale international events. The India International Convention and Expo Centre, also known as Yashobhoomi, and Bharat Mandapam are the best examples, ready to showcase India in this light,” Garg said. Reportedly, over 200 events have already been planned at the newly inaugurated convention in Dwarka, Delhi over the next two years.
Visa and travel facilitation: India has introduced e-visas and simplified visa procedures for conference participants and organizers. These measures, according to Garg, make it easier for international delegates to attend events in India.
Collaboration with industry players: The government is working with industry players, including hotels, airlines and event management companies, to create attractive packages and offers for conference organizers. These partnerships ensure mitigation of logistical challenges and competitive pricing for organizing events in India, Garg said.
Global alliances: India partners with international organizations, associations and conference organizers to host major global events.
Promotion and marketing: The Government of India, along with various tourism bodies, actively promotes the country as a conference tourism destination through marketing campaigns and participation in international trade fairs and exhibitions.
Sterling Holiday Resorts expands in Gujarat with new property in Vadodara
The hotel branch of Thomas Cook India, Sterling Vacations has added a property within Gujarat’s largest theme park to tap the growing meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions market.
THE 63-room Sterling Aatapi Wonderland would be a significant addition to the company’s leisure portfolio, said Vikram LalvaniManaging Director and CEO of Sterling Holiday Resorts.
Akasa Air gets government clearance to fly to international destinations
Akasa Air recently included a 20th aircraft in its fleet making the airline eligible to carry out international operations, the carrier received permission from the Ministry of Civil Aviation to operate international flights.
Confirming the news, Vinay Dube, founder and CEO of Akasa Air, said in a statement that the ministry’s approval would enable the airline to launch international operations before the end of this year. “We are targeting destinations within range of a 737 MAX from India in South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. We are also on track to announce a triple-digit aircraft order by the end of this year to meet growing travel demand,” Dubé said.
Speaking to Skift earlier, Dube had said that with the Boeing 737 Max in its fleet, the international routes Akasa would look to explore include the Middle East, East Africa, South East Asia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
What the Indian rule book says: Previously, regulators required airlines to have at least five years of operation on domestic routes and maintain a fleet of at least 20 planes to apply for international flights. However, in 2016, this requirement was revised, allowing airlines to launch international operations once they have deployed 20 aircraft or reached 20% of their total capacity in domestic operations, whichever is higher.
However, this authorization comes at a time when the airline is facing serious turbulence due to the abrupt resignation of 43 pilots, forcing the airline to cut flights short term.
Staff shortage at aviation regulator delays issuance of pilot licenses
Struggling with staff shortages in key positions, the aviation regulator’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation is taking at least two months to issue licenses to trained pilots.
Waiting time: Pilots currently have to wait several months to obtain their license, according to civil aviation ministry sources. This waiting time is expected to increase in the coming months.
Vacant jobs : The Directorate of Training and Licensing, which reports to the Department of Operations in charge of licensing, has a total of 129 authorized positions of deputy directors.
Unfortunately, a significant portion, 92 positions, or almost 72% of the total allocation, remains vacant.
Speaking about the delay in filling crucial posts, a senior official termed the recruitment process as “tedious and time-consuming”.