Luxury Travel Booming in India

India, an emerging leader of the Asia Pacific travel market, is now entering the new era of luxury travel with the Indian luxury market expecting to rapidly grow with a CAGR of 12.8% over the next decade [Source: Amadeus].

From India’s leading film production houses like Yash Raj Films and Fox Star Studios to the country’s top destination wedding planning companies like Percept Weddings, Wedniksha, Fab Events and Beautiful Wedding Management – all believe that luxury travel from India is growing at an exponential rate.

Talking about what has led to this impeccable growth of outbound luxury travel from India, Sushil Shamlal Wadhwa – Founder & CMD at Platinum World Group stated, “As people earn more wealth and get exposed to unique experiences and new destinations, luxury travel has become the new status symbol and the ‘in thing’ to do. The awareness that ‘experiences’ and not ‘things’ can give more happiness is also contributing to the growing popularity of luxury travel”.

International destinations & venues have begun investing resources into specifically targeting premium travelers from India, however, in order to stand out from the crowd when targeting these luxury travelers, Sushil added that “A popular destination will have to reinvent itself and offer newer experiences to attract the luxury traveler. It’s relatively easier for unexplored destinations to attract the luxury traveler just because it’s not explored by many people yet. Being a part of good movies, editorials in leading travel publications and good visibility on Social media could certainly help a lot to target premium Indian travelers”.

Bringing forth the potential of this striking luxury market, the MILT Congress is back and is set to welcome India’s top destination wedding planners, film production houses and leading luxury travel agencies along with the top corporate decision makers to meet with global suppliers catering to this niche market from all around the world. These premium spenders representing India’s luxury segment will come together at the 4th Annual MICE India & Luxury Travel Congress on the 28th & 29th of July 2016 at The St. Regis Mumbai, India.

Talking about the next big thing in India – the Indian destination wedding market is flourishing with a large number of Indians wanting to celebrate their “special” day in unique destinations abroad. “Every year over 280 to 300 Indian weddings take place at international destinations -Thailand, Bali, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Mauritius, Macau, Malaysia, Abu Dhabi, Oman, Dubai, and a few in Europe. In the last two years the Middle East has become the hottest destination for wealthy Indians, and hence properties in Oman, Abu Dhabi and Dubai are getting a steady flow of enquiries from families and wedding planners”, says Parthip Thyagarajan, Co-founder & Director at WeddingSutra.

Having organized weddings in destinations around the world like Mykonos, Monte Carlo, Florence, Budapest, Mauritius, Madrid, Salzburg, Cannes and Dubai, Khushi Singh, Vice President Business Development at Percept Weddings expressed her views on trends that would escalate the number of destinations targeting Indian high net worth individuals, she said, “A current trend is finding the most unconventional venues, and subtly integrating the destination within the overall wedding experience.” Possibly doing a destination wedding in two-three destinations by hosting guests on a cruise and holding events where the cruise liner docks every day, could be an upcoming trend that would take the concept of a destination wedding to the next level, she added.

Tourism boards around the world are marketing their destinations extensively to offer customized packages for couples to have their weddings in their destinations. This in turn promotes the local culture of the destinations and also generates business for local vendors. On the other hand, organizing a wedding abroad isn’t just beneficial for the destination – according to Saurabh Walwani – Managing Director, Fab Events India Pvt. Ltd, “The destination’s hotels and local vendors get business and an exposure to Indian weddings. From the wedding planner’s point of view, it just doesn’t gives us an experience, but also builds up our portfolio much stronger and gives us confidence to explore more of the destination for weddings in the rest of the world.”

Bhavnesh Sawhney – Director at Wedniksha added that it is extremely beneficial for a destination to have an Indian wedding in their country because it brings in a large group of people, hereby increasing their tourism revenue and creating great business for local vendors, be it for décor or logistics, whilst promoting the local culture of the country.

Destination wedding planners are not the only major contributors to this striking market, India’s flourishing film industry has experienced a phenomenal growth over the years which has resulted in many foreign tourism boards now focusing on showcasing their destination to high-spending Indian travelers via Indian films. Aashish Singh – Vice President Production at Yash Raj Films commented “Films usually depict the beautiful side of the locations, if the audience sees their favorite stars in those locations then it becomes even more aspirational for the tourists to travel to those locations. There have been many case studies both in Hollywood and Bollywood to prove how there is a direct impact on tourism after a film is shot on a location.”

Echoing similar sentiments, Parth Arora – Head of Production at Fox Star Studios believes that “Indian films have always played a great role in defining the travel markets for Indian audiences. The way Bollywood films and their stars are revered in this country, any place that films are shot at become aspirational for the Indian audiences. We have often seen a huge surge in tourism in countries where Indian films have shot in the past”.

“Luxury is now the fastest growing segment of the travel industry. Indians are now craving for a new and evolved kind of luxury, offering these premium buyers an exclusive and personalized experience is now more crucial than ever to retain existing clients and gain new ones. At the MILT Congress, we bring together partners who provide customized packages that meet the wants of this niche market in India.” According to Ackash Jain, Director at QnA International, the organizers of the event.

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