Half of travel companies which conduct business in India expect to do more business in the country next year, according to research by World Travel Market London, the leading global event for the travel industry, released today (Monday 7 November). A travel industry survey quizzed 2,044 firms and found that 1,445 conduct business in India – and 49% of these expect to do more business in India during 2017.
Two-fifths (43%) thought business would stay the same, and just 9% thought it might decrease. Furthermore, a survey of 1,145 UK holidaymakers, found that a fifth (20%) would be interested in visiting India in the future.
India is WTM London 2016’s Premier Partner as it aims to build on its tourism success, with a focus on luxury travel and cruises. The Minister of State for tourism in India, Dr Mahesh Sharma, will be at WTM London to discuss how the country is aiming for more than 13 million visitors a year by 2020.
India expects foreign tourist arrivals to rise 10% year-on-year in 2016, taking visitor numbers to a projected nine million. In the last 18 months, India’s government has invested more than U$300m on developing tourism infrastructure around the country.
Also helping promote the country during WTM London will be Harry Potter movie star and TV actor Miriam Margolyes, who featured in the hit BBC2 series The Real Marigold Hotel, set in India.
India’s most popular destinations are The Golden Triangle (Delhi, Agra and Jaipur); Rajasthan, Goa; Kerala; Kashmir and the North East, but other “hidden gems” and sectors are also being developed, such as coastal tourism and eco-tourism. It uses the ‘Incredible India’ branding to highlight the quality and variety of experiences available for tourists.
There were 870,000 UK visitors to India last year and the UK market is seeing strong growth – numbers over the past three years have risen by almost 100,000.
New flight routes from Manchester and increased airlift from Birmingham will enable more UK travellers to reach India in 2016 and 2017.
Next year, India expects more success with its e-Tourist Visa (eTV), which was introduced to 113 countries in August 2015.
The country will also mark the 70th anniversary of independence in 2017 and plans for celebrations will be revealed at WTM London.
WTM London, Senior Director, Simon Press, said: “India has been a key exhibitor at WTM London in recent years so I am delighted it is our Premier Partner for 2016.
“It puts India in prime position to promote the incredible range of tourism products to more than 9,000 of the world’s most important buyers through the WTM Buyers’ Club.”
WTM London is the event where the travel and tourism industry conducts its business deals. Buyers from the WTM Buyers’ Club have a combined purchasing responsibility of $22.6 billion (£15.8bn) and sign deals at the event worth $3.6 billion (£2.5bn). The annual gathering of 50,000 senior travel industry professionals takes place at ExCeL – London from Monday 7 to Wednesday 9 November 2016.