News and Insights

Young Indian globetrotters chase once-in-a-lifetime adventures

May 22, 2024

Expanding its travel practice in India, FINN Partners releases Future of Travel report, “Impulse and affluence: Understanding spending trends among India’s young globetrotters” to leverage opportunities in the Indian outbound tourism market.

Abu Dhabi/London/New Delhi/New York/Singapore – Young Indian travelers are not just dreaming about once-in-a-lifetime experiences; a significant 42% are willing to spend more to make them happen today rather than “someday.” Fueled by increasing prosperity and rapid economic growth, India is poised to become a significant global origin market for tourism. “Impulse and affluence: Understanding spending trends among India’s young globetrotters,” the latest industry report by FINN Partners, indicates that young Indian travelers are at the forefront of shaping the evolving travel landscape.

The report, based on a survey of Indian travelers, uncovers not just where and on what young Indians are spending their travel budgets, but also how they manage the financial aspects of their journeys. This survey unveils their appetite for once-in-a-lifetime experiences, willingness to invest in premium air travel and desire for unique or hard-to-find gifts.

“India’s burgeoning economy not only fuels its own growth but propels its citizens into the global wanderlust. As prosperity rises, so does the desire to explore. With a fast-growing economy as its engine, India has emerged as a significant contributor to the global leisure travel landscape. It is not just a leisure activity for young Indians; it’s an integral part of their lifestyle and financial planning. Through this report, our travel practice aims to support stakeholders in their endeavor to fulfill the emerging needs of this sector,” says Shivani Gupta, Managing Partner, FINN Partners, India.

Adventure and opportunity drive the desire to travel

Young Indian globetrotters have emerged as proactive and adventurous travelers, with 42% willing to pay more for once-in-a-lifetime experiences, and 37% for activities recommended by travel experts. They are also willing to invest in premium services that make travel easier, whether it is in-flight upgrades (43% willing to pay more), airport transfers or itinerary booking and planning support at their accommodation (46%), hotel upgrades (38%) or restaurants that specifically offer a comfortable ambience or vibe (46%).

While sustainability is important to them, it often takes a backseat to immersive experiences, highlighting a desire for authenticity in travel encounters. Health and wellness are not primary considerations, but travelers are open to wellness attractions offering mental and physical rejuvenation.

Impulsive travel is also on the rise among young Indian travelers, with nearly 90% of respondents indicating that they have embarked on spontaneous journeys. Their decisions are largely driven by the draw of unique destinations (59%) and adventure opportunities (55%).

“We’ve observed that these pull factors are stronger drivers of impulsive travel among young Indians compared to push factors,” says Joshua Wang, Director, Global Intelligence, FINN Partners, Singapore. “Leveraging deep consumer research to understand the motivations and travel preferences of young Indians is essential for positioning your destination or brand as the top choice for this dynamic cohort of travelers.”

The report also offers valuable insights into specific destinations preferred by young Indian travelers. In the Middle East, the UAE remains a favored destination, with young Indian travelers currently spending close to a quarter of their budget on accommodation, with 40% on dining and shopping. What is interesting is that spend on shopping beats that on cultural and recreational activities, such as museums and amusement parks.

“As destinations recognized predominantly for their resort, dining and shopping facilities, there is significant scope to expand appeal into other areas to drive even more young Indian tourists to the Middle East region,” states Thomas Morris, Senior Partner, FINN Partners, UAE. “The data shows that a significant majority would return and increase spending if there were more perceived opportunities available for adventure sports, ecotourism or technology-driven experiences such as VR historical tours. Of course, the region can offer this, and our strategic presence in the UAE means we can support destinations, hotels and other tourism operators to package tourism services in the most appealing way.”

Elsewhere, Qatar, Egypt, and Morocco are increasingly viewed as future travel destinations, while Bahrain, Jordan, and Oman remain less recognized. Each holds the potential to redefine their tourism appeal by promoting their unique attributes.

On the other hand, in the Americas, established travel spots like the USA and Canada continue to be popular, while Caribbean islands like the Bahamas and Jamaica offer promising opportunities for attracting tourists.

Act fast to build loyalty

To capitalize on the evolving preferences of young Indian travelers, the report offers several strategic recommendations for stakeholders in the travel industry. These include building relationships with the cohort early on, capitalizing on impulsiveness through last-minute deals, and upselling with comfort and convenience.

Moreover, sustainability should be a default offering, highlighting how eco-conscious initiatives are already embedded into the experience. As Indian travelers seek enriching experiences beyond traditional tourism, stakeholders have the opportunity to cater to their preferences and aspirations, shaping the future of travel.

“As global dynamics shift and travel preferences evolve, Indian travelers are poised to shape the future of global tourism. Our latest insights reveal that building lasting relationships with travelers now can lead to decades of loyalty. We recommend seizing every opportunity to engage them with last-minute deals that spark spontaneity, unique attractions that promise unforgettable adventures, and ensuring every aspect of their journey enhances comfort and convenience,” says Debbie Flynn, Global Travel Lead at FINN Partners.

TAGS: Travel & Tourism