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India leads in tourism recovery post-Covid

A recent report has indicated that India played a pivotal role in the post-pandemic recovery of tourism expenditure in Asia in 2022, following the fluctuations caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. Notably, Tier-II and III cities like Varanasi, Coimbatore, and Kochi have been gaining popularity as top tourist destinations.

In 2022, India achieved a remarkable recovery by reaching 78 percent of its 2019 tourism expenditure levels, whereas the broader Asian market only recorded a 52 percent recovery. This data comes from a report titled ‘How India Travels,’ a collaboration between online travel platform Booking.com and McKinsey & Company.

Due to prolonged travel restrictions, particularly in countries like China, Japan, and Southeast Asia, the tourism industry in Asia remained subdued throughout 2022.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Indian travelers spent a substantial USD 150 billion on travel, ranking India as the sixth largest global spender. The report predicts that by 2030, total expenditure by Indian travelers will surge to $410 billion, making India the fourth largest global spender and showcasing one of the most rapid recoveries from COVID-19 globally in comparison to key regions. This expected robust recovery in India can be attributed to a strong economy, a growing middle class, and a youthful population with a penchant for travel, all of which are contributing to increased tourism revenue in the country.

Santosh Kumar, the Country Manager for India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, and Indonesia at Booking.com, mentioned that Indian travelers are enthusiastic, eager, and confident to explore both nearby and far-off destinations in search of new experiences. The report also predicts that Indians are anticipated to spend $40 billion by 2030, further driving the global tourism rebound.

The report underlines a surge in demand for alternative accommodation options, including hostels, campsites, vacation rentals, and chalets. The growth rate of average daily rates (ADR) for these alternative accommodations has outpaced those of traditional hotels and managed chains, signaling a notable shift in travel preferences among Indian travelers.

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