The number of Indian visitors travelling to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations over the coming five years will create an extra 10.8 million room nights, as Indians are among the world's highest spenders per visit made abroad, according to new data.
The latest research published by Colliers International, ahead of Arabian Travel Market 2019 (ATM), predicts around nine million Indians will travel to the GCC states by 2022 37 per cent of India's total outbound market with business, place of work and leisure underpinning this demand.
Indian outbound tourists will account for 22.5 million worldwide tourists in 2018, with reports from the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) estimating this figure will increase by 122 per cent to reach over 50 million by 2022.
The ATM is scheduled to take place here from April 28 -May 1, 2019. Adding to this, Indian tourists are among the world's highest spenders per visit made abroad, with visitor spend expected to increase from USD 23 billion in 2018 to USD 45 billion by 2022.
Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director, Arabian Travel Market, said, "Despite recent weak rupee exchange rates, which have seen the rupee lose around 14 per cent of its value against the US dollar over the last 12 months, the Indian outbound market has continued to grow at an average annual growth rate of 10-12 per cent over the last seven years".
She said "The GCC has benefited from this trend with Indian travellers' willingness and ability to spend on outbound travel supported by the country's pace-setting seven per cent GDP growth and a new generation of leisure attractions in the GCC as well as increased business opportunities and relaxed visa regulations for Indian nationals. We are witnessing this growth first hand with Indian visitors to ATM increasing 27 per cent year-on-year between 2017 and 2018".
In 2017, the UAE welcomed 2.3 million Indian tourists, accounting for 13 per cent of its total annual visitors, with this figure expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of seven per cent by 2022.
India retained top spot on Dubai's list of source markets for inbound tourism, with over a million Indian tourists arriving in the emirate during the first half of 2018, registering a three per cent rise over the same period in 2017.
Relaxed visa restrictions and the introduction of a free two-day transit visa have contributed to this growth. "The influx of Indian visitors to the GCC shows no sign of abating, with every reason to believe India will maintain its position as a top source market, moving forward. Supporting this demand, in the UAE alone, there are currently 1,065 weekly flights to India corresponding to 130,000 seats per week. Meanwhile, ongoing bilateral talks are continuing to take place to increase airline frequency between India and all GCC countries," Curtis said.
The Colliers research suggests India will rank as the world's youngest country demographically, with 65 per cent of the total population categorized as Gen X or Gen Y by 2025.
"A rapidly growing younger population combined with a burgeoning middle class currently representing 350 million of India's total population who have an increasing amount of disposable income, provide strong indications that the country will continue to see a steep rise in the number of nationals travelling abroad over the coming years," Curtis added.