Global young give ‘incredible India’ a big miss!

Rashi Aditi Ghosh/ZRG

India has achieved about 150 percent growth in foreign tourist inflows into the country during the last decade. But the growth might have actually been much better had youth chosen India as a preferred travel destination.

Youth (15-24 year age group) share in tourist arrivals here registered a continual declining trend falling from 10.8 percent in 2001 to 7.9 percent in 2011. The extended youth category (25-34 age group) arrival too witnessed a fall from 20 percent in 2001 to 16.6 percent in 2011.

Then data forms a part of the latest report ‘Tourism statistics in India’ published by the Central tourism ministry.

Endorsing the trend of global youth not finding favor with India, Karan Anand, Head, relationships, Cox & Kings, here, said, “Due to their poor financial situation foreign youngsters preferably travel to destinations closer to their home. Also, we get lesser youngsters in India because they are attracted to a vibrant nightlife, casinos, food etc. Barring major cities in India no other destination offers them such attractions.”

On the other hand foreign arrivals within the middle aged and elderly people segment grabbed the highest attention. Data shows that the highest arrivals to India during 2011 were from 35-44 years age group (21.2 percent) followed by the age groups of 45-54 years (19.7 percent) respectively.

Speaking on consistent interest level in India of the not so young travelers, Ananda at Cox & Kings added, “India is a long haul market. We offer 5,000 year-old culture and it is more experiential travel that we are looking out for. As a result India attracts travelers in a higher age group as they are more likely to experience our rich civilization and appreciate our culture.”

Supporting Anand’s view, Mohit Gupta, Chief business officer- holidays at MakeMyTrip said, “With increasing awareness about the value-based deals available online, more and more middle aged tourists are taking charge of their travel plans and visiting India.”

The tourism ministry report further revealed that foreign tourists came to India primarily on leisure, holidays and recreation purpose. The other popular segment was the ‘business and professional’ visit category.

While arrivals to India for leisure, holidays and recreation increased to 26 percent in 2011 as against 24 percent a year earlier, the number of those who came here for business and professional purpose increased from 18.6 percent in 2010 to 22.5 percent in 2011.