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The United Nations World Tourism Organisation forecasts that India will account for 50 million outbound tourists by the year 2020. Also as per the Kuoni Travel Report India 2007, the total outbound spending will touch an astounding $28 billion.

At the heart of such growth is the sharp spurt in leisure travel — a lot of these in recent years. Consider this:

  • In 2009, Jordan received 29,000 Indians, which grew by 71.4 per cent to 53,000 in 2010. According to Ashish Sharma, the Head of Marketing (India) for Jordan Tourism, there has been a 30 per cent increase over the same period in the first three quarters of 2011.
  • Among the top five ranked markets for Malaysia, the number of Indians visiting the country grew from 1,32,127 in 2000 to 5,89,383 in 2009, an annual decadal growth rate of 25 per cent. In 2010, the number touched 6.90 lakhs.
  • New York city saw 1,85,000 visitors in 2010, up by 26 per cent from the previous year.
  • With 65, 000 visitors from India, New South Wales in Australia recorded an increase of 18.4 per cent in 2010 over the previous year as reported by Siew Hoon Tan, Regional Director for Destination New South Wales.
  • South African tourism has witnessed an exceptional increase in Indian tourist arrivals in 2010 with a jump of close to 17.3 per cent. In fact, as per their latest reports for the period January-July 2011, a total of 52,588 Indians have so far visited SA; nearly 40 per cent up compared to last year's corresponding period.
  • “London continues to be hugely popular with Indians. In 2010, the city had almost 250,000 visitors (up 31 per cent from 2009) with an average stay of 17 nights. We anticipate that the visitor market from India will continue to grow in the coming years,” says Gordon Innes, CEO, London & Partners.

Standing alongside contemporary booming economies such as China and Brazil, India is poised to play a much more important role in the world tourism industry in the future. The potential is huge given that the outbound tourism market in relation to the country's GDP is still very much lower than that of most developed economies. The potential for growth is only going to burgeon with the coming of age of the globetrotting Indian traveller.

 

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