More and more Indians are travelling abroad for various purposes and this is resulting in significant growth in outbound travel from India. But an interesting trend to note is that travelers from the pockets of India have contributed notably to the growth of the country’s outbound travel.
Increasing disposable income, low-cost carriers, easier visa applications are among the few reasons that have contributed to this increase.
According to VFS Global, the world’s largest outsourcing and technology services specialist for governments and diplomatic missions worldwide, steep year-on-year growth in outbound travel was recorded in tier II cities, such as Jalandhar (66 percent), Chandigarh (54 percent), Pondicherry (43 percent) and Goa (45 percent).
“With the year-on-year increase in visa applications from India, it is evident that foreign travel is no longer the domain of a privileged few. A large part of this growth comes from the smaller cities – more Indians from these cities are travelling abroad than ever before, and are keen to explore even off-beat destinations,” said Vinay Malhotra, Regional Group Chief Operating Officer – Middle East, South Asia, and China, VFS Global.
“There is a greater comfort with visa application process as well today – the anxiety that people used to associate with the process has been significantly eased with options like personalised assistance, door-step services and document upload assistance being offered at every step. As technology is used more and more to upgrade the customer experience, flexibility of services continues to be a top priority, so that the joy of travel begins at the visa application stage itself,” he added.
A report by CAPA India, specialist in aviation consulting and research practice in South Asia, said by 2025, as many as 13.9 million leisure departures are expected. This will generate 19.4 million Indian visitor arrivals overseas, with a major contribution from tier II and III cities.
The report also projects that India will record 34.5 million outbound departures by 2025.
In addition, the recent VFS Global data shows that last year, it processed 5.28 million visa applications in India which is an overall increase of 13 percent in visa applications since 2017.
Since 2016, there has been a 22 percent increase in visa applications in India.
In 2018, countries for which most amount of visa applications were processed were the US, the UK, Canada, Malaysia, People’s Republic of China, Thailand and the Schengen group of countries.
Emerging destinations (countries which showed significant increase in visa applications in 2018 over the previous year) include Japan, Turkey, Czech Republic and Estonia.