US tourists to flock to India this winter

India and the US are gearing up for a significant rise in travel between the countries this winter, primarily driven by people of Indian origin. Flight bookings show both nations rank as the leading outbound destinations for each other.

A report by BSE-listed RateGain Travel Technologies Ltd, which provides SaaS solutions for travel and hospitality, said winter, typically, is not a season when Indians travel to the US, but this season will be a deviation from last year. According to the report accessed by Mint, the rise in demand, spanning December to February 2024 compared with a year earlier, was conducted by World on Holiday Insights Centre. The analysis takes into account airline and hotel booking information rather than search data.

The drop in bookings from the US to the UAE emerged as a significant factor in making India a key destination for outbound US travelers. Growing number of US citizens, including persons of Indian origin, are choosing India for the winter break. A significant rise in hotel bookings in India is seen since October, extending up to February. The report said the ongoing conflict in West Asia prompted many US citizens to holiday in places like Goa and Kerala.

The US’s top 10 outbound leisure destinations are diverse. India leads at 30% of bookings, followed by Mexico at 22%, and the UK, Japan, and the Philippines completing the top five with 8%, 7% and 6%, respectively. Colombia, Spain, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, and Italy, each at 5% make up the top 10 destinations.

“There is also a growing contingent of non-diaspora vacationers who will visit leisure destinations in India during the period. India is also emerging as a transit hub for a lot of travelers headed to south-east Asia,” said Ankit Chaturvedi, the company’s vice president and global head of marketing.

The US is the most booked outbound leisure travel destination for Indians with 17% of all bookings, primarily travelers visiting family there. This figure is 12% higher than the year-ago period.

While inbound tourism is recovering still to its pre-covid numbers, India’s outbound tourism market is poised for significant growth, with projections indicating a reach of $42 billion by 2024. This expansion is driven by a growing population and a rising number of passport holders, with approximately 80 million Indians now possessing travel documents.

A 2019 study by consulting firm Nangia Andersen LLP and the Ficci lobby group revealed that Indians spent $22.9 billion on outbound trips that year. Europe emerges as a prime destination, attracting 20% of Indian traveler traffic, while another 10% venture to Australia and New Zealand. Southeast Asia also captures a substantial portion of Indian outbound tourism.

India is a diverse and culturally rich country with a wide range of attractions that can appeal to different interests. Some major attractions for US tourists in India include:

 

 

One of the most iconic symbols of India, the Taj Mahal in Agra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a marvel of Mughal architecture. Its stunning white marble structure and intricate detailing attract millions of visitors each year.

 

 

Known for its vibrant culture, colorful markets, and historical landmarks such as the Hawa Mahal, City Palace, and Amer Fort, Jaipur is a popular destination for those interested in history, architecture, and shopping.

 

 

Located in the state of Uttarakhand, these towns along the Ganges River are famous for their spiritual significance, yoga retreats, and adventure activities. Rishikesh, in particular, is known as the “Yoga Capital of the World.”

 

 

 

 Considered one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Varanasi is a spiritual hub for Hindus. The ghats along the Ganges River, the Ganga Aarti, and the narrow winding streets of the old city are unique experiences.

 The serene backwaters of Kerala offer a peaceful and picturesque landscape. Houseboat cruises through the network of canals and lagoons provide a unique way to experience the natural beauty and local culture.

 Known for its beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife, and Portuguese-influenced architecture, Goa is a popular destination for those seeking relaxation and entertainment.

 India is home to diverse wildlife, and national parks like Ranthambore, Jim Corbett, and Kaziranga offer opportunities to spot tigers, elephants, rhinoceroses, and various bird species.

India hosts numerous colorful festivals throughout the year, such as Diwali, Holi, and Navratri. Participating in these festivals provides a unique cultural experience.

 For adventure seekers, the Himalayan regions of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand offer trekking, skiing, and mountaineering opportunities. Popular destinations include Manali, Shimla, and Rishikesh.

Indian cuisine is diverse and flavorful, with regional specialties ranging from spicy curries to sweets like gulab jamun. Food enthusiasts can explore the unique flavors and culinary traditions across the country. In all,  India’s rich history, diverse landscapes, and cultural experiences offer something for every type of traveler.

Images courtesy of (LEAD) and provided

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