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ATM 2024 to Focus on India’s Outbound Tourism Potential

With the Indian outbound market forecast to be worth USD143.5 billion annually by the end of this decade, the Indian tourism sector will come under the spotlight during Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2024, which returns to the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) for its 31st edition from May 06-09.

According to a report by and McKinsey, 70 percent of Indians travelling overseas choose nearby destinations, with one-third choosing destinations in the Middle East. The UAE is the top regional destination, followed by Saudi Arabia. According to the DET, India is Dubai’s top source market, with 1.9 million visitors in the first 10 months of 2023. Saudi Arabia is aiming for 7.5 million visitors by 2030.

 To illustrate the sheer size and potential growth of India’s overall outbound market, prior to the pandemic in 2019, Indians made 26.9 million overseas trips; the report predicts that by 2030, that number could increase to 50 million departures.    

 Danielle Curtis, exhibition director ME, Arabian Travel Market, said, “The boom in outbound travel from India is being driven primarily by the growing middle class. In 2020, only 37 million households had annual income between USD10,000 and up to USD35,000, but due to India’s rapid economic growth, by 2030 that number will rise significantly to 177 million households.

 “More specifically, households earning over USDS35,000 per annum will also increase from two million in 2020 to 13 million by 2030, a sixfold increase! And with India’s median age being just 28 years, it’s little wonder that the UNWTO recognises India as one of the top three fastest-growing outbound markets in the world. By 2030, India’s total travel expenditure will be valued at USD410 billion. Putting that into perspective, prior to Covid, in 2019, it was worth just USD150 billion, an increase of 173 percent.”

 Furthermore, it is not just the volume of Indian travellers that is getting Middle East destinations excited. According to a survey by Acko Insurance, the majority of Indian travellers who responded were willing to spend up to USD7,000 on international trips.  

 Another reason already alluded to is the close proximity of the Gulf states, Dubai is the most popular city destination for Indian travellers, just three hours flight time from Mumbai. In addition, increased connectivity and affordable air travel from tier-two cities are also driving demand, particularly direct flights with low-cost carriers.

 “And with over 8.5 million Indian expatriates currently working in the GCC, business travel and bleisure, will undoubtedly underpin this growth,” added Curtis.