Last week, India toppled Britain to become Abu Dhabi's largest overseas tourist market. According to figures released by Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, 80,179 Indian nationals stayed in the city's hotels from January until the end of June, registering a 22 per cent rise on last year. In 2012, Thailand was ranked no. 1 in regards to outbound destination for Indian travellers. And tourism to South-East Asian countries, like Singapore, Malaysia, Maldives and Hong Kong, is still high.
“With the fluctuating rupee, shorter holidays are in vogue. And it makes sense to visit places close by to make the most of the break,” says Guru Shah, who owns a travel agency in Fort.
There are expected to be 50 million outbound Indian tourists by 2020, according to the UN’s World Tourism Organisation. And even though places nearby are in favour, some distant countries remain in demand. “Theme parks are of great interest and have led to an increased number of Indian travellers visiting the US while visitors are fascinated with the architecture, and historical monuments in Europe,” says Vishal Suri, chief executive officer, tour operating, Kuoni India, adding that the natural beauty, and diverse experiences attract many to explore South Africa.
Other popular destinations:
Europe: According to the European Travel Commission and the World Tourism Organisation, Europe commands an estimated market share of about 20 per cent of all Indian outbound departures. Five European destinations account for a majority share of travel from India to Europe. They are United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany and Switzerland.
USA: Over 100 million Indians or people of Indian origin live abroad. And the Amadeus-Frost & Sullivan report indicates that “over two thirds of Indian travellers have close relative members living overseas.” This makes North America, Australia and the UK the most common locations to visit.
Fiji: An emerging travel destination, the number of Indian visitors to Fiji increased by 37 per cent from 2010 to 2012.
South Africa: According to the South African Tourism Board, the nation receives 18 per cent of its international tourists from India.
Argentina: Amongst the latest entrants to the booming tourism market, Argentina is marketing itself as an “exotic destination” looking to target the niche market.
Jordan: Another emerging destination, statistics showed a 5.1 per cent increase in the number of overnight visitors to Jordan from India in 2012.