Only 0.3% Indians go for holiday abroad
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The number of Indians travelling abroad has been going up year after year. But only 0.3 per cent of the population or around 4 million people are undertaking an overseas leisure trip, while close to 8 per cent of the population can afford at le­ast a short-haul destination.

The outbound travel has been steadily growing since 2000 and it has grown from 4.42 million in 2000 to 21.9 million in 2016. But only a small proportion of this are actually holidaying abroad, finds a study by Expedia and CAPA India.

Of the total 21.9 million trips undertaken by Indians in 2016, 5.8 million were by non-resident Indians and the purpose of their international travel was returning to their country of residence after a visit to India. 

Out of the balance 16.1 million departures, an estimated 26 per cent were travelling for business purposes, 16 per cent for visiting frie­nds and relatives (VFR), 28 per cent for education, employment or pilgrimage and only 30 per cent or 4. 8 million departures were for outbound leisure travel.

Given that some Indians holiday overseas more than once in a year, the number of unique leisure travellers is estimated to be even lower at approximately 4 million or 0.3 per cent of the total population.  “India has a huge latent market for leisure travel owing to the burgeoning middle class, rising disposable incomes, higher ne­ed and awareness around travel being pushed by millennials. The report suggests that India has a promising potential, as only 30 per cent of the total departures by resident Indians account for leisure travelling, which sta­nds too small as compared to a global average of 53 per cent,” Simon Fiquet, General Manager, Southeast Asia and India, Expedia said.

Around 100 million people in India or close to 8 per cent of the population can afford overseas holidays.

While the vast majority of Indians do not have the purchasing power to travel overseas, an estimated 50-55 million people live in households with annual incomes above $30,000 (high

income) and a further 45-50 million people live in households with annual incomes in the range of $15,000 to $30,000 (upper-middle income). Based on purchasing power parity, upper-middle income is considered a reasonable threshold above which international travel, at least to a short-haul destination, can be considered.

Columnist: 
Sangeetha G.