India GDP growth drives incentive travel boom

Indian outbound travel, including in the incentive travel segment, is growing in leaps and bounds. Hotel bookings from India to Europe increased by 20 per cent, led by Turkey at 90 per cent, Spain at 33 per cent and the UK at 28 per cent, while hotel bookings to North America have increased by 10 per cent. A surge in demand for China, Malaysia, Thailand and Australia was also significant.

Sushil Shamlal Wadhwa, chairman of Platinum Incentives, said: “Incentive travel is growing at unprecedented levels and is here to stay as it is an extremely useful tool for corporate companies to reward and motivate their employees and retail partners. Encouraged by India’s leading GDP global growth rate, a growing middle class and a millennial age group that is increasingly enjoying more disposable income, the country is rapidly becoming an outbound travel force.”

European demand has also triggered a growth in Indian inbound visitors with hotel bookings surging 109 per cent on a year-on-year basis, according to Hotelbeds group data. The demand from the Asia Pacific markets has grown by 53 per cent while from North America it has increased by 32 per cent. Inbound tour operators and incentive planners are bullish that India’s popularity will continue to grow as a destination. The upturn may be assigned to a more relaxed e-visa regime and an emphasis on bolstering tourism by Indian stakeholders.