Indian tourists to favour Dubai, Thailand and Singapore in 2019

Manama, Oman, Doha and Kuwait city are also coming up as big favourites for Indian travellers of late
Indian tourists to favour Dubai, Thailand and Singapore in 2019
Dubai is expected to be top location for Indian tourists this year because of a host of reasons – both economical and entertainment related.
By James Mathew
Tue 15 Jan 2019 02:00 PM

Leading Indian tour operators in India say Dubai, Thailand and Singapore will be the hot international destinations for tourists in 2019.

Dubai is expected to be top location for Indian tourists this year because of a host of reasons – both economical and entertainment related.

“Dubai has a whole lot to offer for family entertainments by way of several amusement parks, Hollywood city, desert safari, innumerable number of Malls – all things which are on top of the ‘to do’ list of majority of Indian tourists,” Pronab Sarkar, President, Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), told Arabian Business.

UAE also offers free visas for children up to 18 years accompanying their parents, an added attraction which is expected to push up tourist flow to Dubai from India this year in a big way, Sarkar said.

Besides Dubai, Manama, Oman, Doha and Kuwait city are also coming up as big favourites for Indian travellers of late.

“Though Dubai tops the list, we have seen up to about 40 percent increase in bookings last year to cities such as Kuwait city and Manama,” Balu Ramachadran, VP & Head of Air & Distribution, Cleartrip, a leading online booking platform, told Arabian Business.

Thailand has also offered free visas to Indian tourists till April this year, which is bound to make a surge in the number of Indians travelling to this southeast Asian tourist destination, according to tour operators.

Outbound tourist operators in India said they expect a lot more Indians to opt for holiday trips to nearby international destinations this year, rather than travelling to domestic holiday locations, because of the 28 percent GST (goods and services tax) on high end hotel tariffs and 18 percent GST on tourist related activities in India.

“If a person opts for an Rs 100,000 ($1,400) tourist package anywhere in India, he or she will have to pay an additional Rs 28,000 ($394) as GST. A ticket to Dubai from Delhi or Mumbai will come for around Rs 18,000 ($253). So there will still be a saving to the tune of close to $150 for the person even after getting the ticket free,” a senior executive in a leading international travel operator said.

“Besides, cities such as Dubai and Singapore are far better in terms of tourism infrastructure and have lot more tourist attractions to offer, compared to domestic tourist destinations such as Goa or Jaipur,” Balu Ramachadran said.

According to travel industry sources, there has been a shift to Indian travellers preferring for multiple, short holiday trips of late, mostly to nearby international tourist destinations, rather than going on long vacations, to far away destinations in Europe, Australia or the US.

Travellers, especially the younger lot, have become much smarter and tech savvy. A highly advantageous combination of low air fares and hotel packages combined with a favourable exchange value for the Indian currency, influence their decisions on holiday destinations.

“Besides, travellers these days are also seeking more far more ‘experiencing’ trips, in contrast to the earlier concept of ‘value for money trips,” Balu said.

While first-time travellers prefer closer locations like Dubai or Singapore for holidays, subsequently they prefer travel to interesting destinations n faraway places in South America or even in Caribbean, Balu said.

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