A report released by a travel portal has revealed that nearly 20% more Indians planned foreign holidays this year between January and June, as compared to the same duration in 2013. The portal, TripAdvisor, compared January-June booking patterns in 2013 and 2014.
The TripAdvisor outbound travel report also found that an increasing number of Indian tourists have been planning vacations at lesser known destinations such as Ambergris Caye, a popular island in the Caribbean.
Tourist hubs such as Dubai, Bangkok and Singapore were the most popular among Indians, with the top 20 destinations for Indians falling in Asia, the report said.
The report also showed that an increasing number of Indian travellers were opting for small apartments over big hotels.
For instance, one out of three travellers chose bed and breakfast properties and vacation rentals, the report said. It also said that 50% of foreign travellers budgeted up to Rs. 5,000 a night for stay, about one-third were comfortable spending Rs. 10,000, and less than 20% could afford more than Rs. 10,000.
“From destination preferences to cuisine choices to what Indian travellers like to do while on holiday, the report shows a lot about the way we travel. With interest in destinations such as Belize, Brazil, Tokyo and Bhutan growing at a rapid pace, and alternate forms of accommodation such as vacation rentals and bread and breakfast being used while on a foreign vacation, Indian travellers definitely seem to be coming of age,” said Nikhil Ganju, country manager, TripAdvisor India.
Even on holidays, most Indians preferred home-style food, followed by Italian, Chinese and continental cuisines, the study showed. Independent travel experts concurred that foreign travel has recovered well this year, after a steady drop owing earlier to the weakening Indian Rupee in 2013.
“A combination of factors such as better air connectivity, affordable airfares and a stable economy has contributed to the improvement of foreign travel volume in the country,” said Iqbal Mulla, former president of the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI).
He added that several tourism boards have been offering tax rebates to travel agents and simplifying visa processing, to boost leisure travel abroad.
Top 10 foreign destinations for Indian tourists in 2014:
1. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
3. Bangkok, Thailand
4. London, United Kingdom
5. Bali, Indonesia
6. Hong Kong, China
7. Pattaya, Thailand
8. Paris, France
9. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
10. Kathmandu, Nepal