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.