It’s considered a cliché in the travel trade that Indians on their first trip abroad, like to visit “safe” destinations like Singapore or Kuala Lumpur, where the experience is not too different from what they’d have back home.
But in the last few years, more and more Indians have been pushing the travel envelope and visiting unconventional destinations like Russia, Poland, Fiji and Tahiti. A recent survey conducted by VISA and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has affirmed that Singapore is still the most preferredforeign destination for Indians.
The VISA-PATA Intentions Survey, conducted in May 2010, surveyed 6,714 travellers from 13 countries about their past travel experiences, future travel intentions and holiday budgets and spending. Out of 500 Indians respondents, an overwhelming 63 per cent said that Singapore would feature on their travel calendar in the next two years. An equally significant 33 per cent of respondents said they would personally recommend Singapore as the place to visit in South-East Asia.
The Asia-Pacific region continues to be a major draw for Indian travellers, with 73 per cent of respondents saying they would visit it, followed by North America and the United Kingdom. Apart from Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong are also popular among Indians, with 13 per cent of respondents recommending Malaysia and 8 per cent recommending Hong Kong.
For the love of shopping
What is it about these countries, which draws Indians to them? “With the variety of retail offerings in Singapore and Malaysia... it is not surprising that these destinations are high on the list of Indian travellers,” says Uttam Nayak, country manager, Visa India and South Asia. “Our research shows that Indian travellers look for great shopping experiences, affordability and natural scenery.”
That’s yet another cliché about Indians — that we love to go where there’s cheap shopping — that’s just been proven true!