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ATM to focus on Indian outbound with market forecast to reach USD 143.5bn

In anticipation of the Indian outbound market reaching a USD 143.5 billion annually by the end of the decade, the 31st edition of the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) is set to put the a spotlight on the burgeoning Indian tourism sector. Scheduled to take place from May 6-9 at the Dubai World Trade Centre, ATM 2024 aims to delve into the dynamics propelling India’s outbound travel boom.

A report by booking.com and McKinsey reveals that 70 per cent of Indians travelling overseas prefer nearby destinations, with one-third opting for the Middle East. The UAE emerges as the top regional choice, closely followed by Saudi Arabia. Notably, India stands out as Dubai’s premier source market, contributing 1.9 million visitors in the first 10 months of 2023, while Saudi Arabia aims to attract 7.5 million visitors by 2030.

Before the pandemic in 2019, Indians embarked on 26.9 million overseas trips. The report predicts a substantial increase, projecting 50 million departures by 2030, showcasing the vast potential for growth in India’s outbound market.

Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director for the Middle East, ATM, attributes the surge in outbound travel to India’s expanding middle class. The report indicates that due to rapid economic growth, the number of households with annual incomes between USD 10,000 and USD 35,000 is expected to rise from 37 million in 2020 to a significant 177 million by 2030. Additionally, households earning over USD 35,000 per annum are anticipated to increase sixfold, from two million in 2020 to 13 million by 2030.

Curtis highlights the youthfulness of India’s population, with a median age of 28, leading the UNWTO to recognise India as one of the top three fastest-growing outbound markets globally. By 2030, India’s total travel expenditure is predicted to reach an impressive USD 410 billion, marking a remarkable 173 perc ent increase from USD 150 billion in 2019.

The proximity of Gulf states, especially Dubai, being just a three-hour flight from Mumbai, has further fuelled the enthusiasm of Indian travellers. Increased connectivity and affordable air travel, particularly from tier-two cities, along with the presence of over 8.5 million Indian expatriates working in the GCC, are contributing factors to the anticipated growth in business travel and bleisure.

A survey by Acko Insurance indicates that the majority of Indian travellers are willing to spend up to USD 7,000 on international trips, adding another layer of excitement for Middle East destinations.

ATM 2024 anticipates a record number of travel professionals representing both outbound and inbound travel to India. The event will provide ample networking opportunities and a chance to explore the Indian travel sector, including a dedicated India Summit titled ‘Unlocking the True Potential of Inbound Indian Travellers.’ The summit, scheduled for May 6th, will delve into the current and future opportunities within this vibrant market.

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