The Indian outbound market has been steadily growing, with Indians featuring among the top 5 generating markets in many countries. The Indian traveler has also been maturing, showing a greater interest in choosing tours out of the ordinary.
Having touched the figure of 11.58 million in 2009, the Indian outbound has been witnessing a growth of over 20 percent over the last few years. Most of the NTOs and individual products claim that it was the Indian market that kept their tourism industry going during the recession. The growth in the aviation sector has also pushed the Indian outbound growth story. International flight frequencies to India have tripled to nearly 2,300 per week from around 700-800 in 2004-05. More than 70 foreign airlines are currently operating to India. India is the only county in Asia where as many as 8 regional LCCs are operating.
The outbound movement is generating greater attention worldwide judging by the bookings coming for the 18th annual edition of SATTE, scheduled to be held from January 27-29, 2011. Clearly, a wider set of countries are showing interest in the Indian market. The newest entrants at SATTE 2011 are the marketing alliance of four European countries – the European Quartet – namely Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia. Separately, Croatia and Slovenia have also booked large spaces, ensuring a first-time presence for a stronger European presence.
Said Punam Singh, chief representative – India, Visit London, which has taken a much larger stall for SATTE 2011: “I have always maintained that SATTE makes tremendous sense for Visit London, as in two days, a huge number of pan India agents visit the event and the networking and business leads are satisfactory.” Visit London will also participate in SATTE, Mumbai.
Vasudha Sondhi, MD, Outbound Marketing, which represents Indonesia, The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, Choice Hotels USA and Caribbean, Sun International Hotels and Resorts, Thistle Hotel, and Guoman Hotels, is also looking forward to accelerating their business through SATTE. “On behalf of our represented clients, we need to make our choices of the events to attend, and considering that there are a number of trade shows and events taking place, it is important that there is one such event where the seller can meet a national buyer base, and SATTE’s quality of hosted buyers of 2010 was most definitely pan India,” she said.
The hotel industry is also confident in giving a new dimension to their business by participating in SATTE. “SATTE as a platform gives the opportunity to showcase our brands and meet new customers. We shall have hotels participating from India and worldwide. Hotels from Italy, Africa, Asia Pacific, and Middle East have confirmed; some more regions are considering participation as well. We are looking at acquiring many new customers this year,” said Dhananjay Saliankar, regional director (Global Sales), India, Nepal & Bangladesh of Starwood Hotels & Resorts.
The organizers are confident that more than 30 NTOs will exhibit this year. A formidable presence has also been ensured for the Middle East region with countries like Jordan, Egypt, Abu Dhabi, Oman, Turkey, and Dubai having booked already. From the Far East, the show will feature Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Hong Kong. Combined with over 30 exhibiting states from the Indian Republic, and some 20 hotel chains, SATTE 2011 will feature over 600 travel and tourism organizations. Said Navin Berry, the chief coordinator of SATTE, “We have built a strong platform for business that is India-centric, riding on the growing power of the Indian traveler.”