More Indians are Travelling than ever before: Mastercard Economics Institute

The Mastercard Economics Institute’s latest report highlights significant trends in the travel industry, showing an unprecedented increase in travel among Indians. The “Travel Trends 2024: Breaking Boundaries” report provides a comprehensive analysis of the evolving landscape across 74 markets, including 13 in the Asia Pacific region (APAC).

Passenger Traffic Surge: In the first quarter of 2024, 97 million passengers passed through Indian airports, for both international and domestic trips. This rapid growth underscores a dramatic increase in travel, a number that would have taken a year to achieve just a decade ago.

Domestic and International Travel Growth: Domestic travel surged by 21% compared to 2019, while international travel saw a 4% increase. Indian travellers are venturing to key markets in significant numbers, with visits to Japan up by 53%, Vietnam by 248%, and the United States by 59%, despite a stronger US dollar.

Top Summer Destinations: Amsterdam, Singapore, and London are trending as the top summer holiday destinations for Indian travellers in 2024. Following closely are Frankfurt and Melbourne.

The global travel sector is experiencing robust growth in 2024, with consumer spending on tourism remaining strong and passenger traffic soaring. The MEI’s report, based on aggregated and anonymized Mastercard transaction data, including Mastercard SpendingPulse™ and third-party sources, delves into the key tourism trends for the year.

The surge in Indian travel is driven by a growing middle class and expanded route capacity. More Indians are exploring international destinations than ever before, marking a significant shift in travel habits toward broader exploration and discovery.

David Mann, Chief Economist for the Asia Pacific at Mastercard, notes that consumers in the region have a strong desire to travel and seek value and memorable experiences. This emphasis on value is increasingly important as foreign exchange rates and spending power become crucial in travellers’ planning decisions. Businesses targeting tourism dollars must adapt their strategies to remain appealing to these savvy travellers.

Globally, consumers are prioritizing experiences over material goods, a trend reflected in the travel sector. Spending on experiences, particularly nightlife, now represents 12% of tourism sales, the highest in at least five years. In India, the fine dining scene is flourishing, with spending on casual dining rising by 49.2% and fine dining by 55.2% as of March 2024 compared to the previous year. This shift highlights a growing preference for enriching and memorable travel experiences.

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