With the Indian outbound market forecast to be valued at $143.5 billion annually by the end of this decade, the Indian tourism sector will come under the spotlight during Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2024, which returns to the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) for its 31st edition from 6-9 May.

According to a report by booking.com and McKinsey, 70% of Indians traveling overseas opt for nearby destinations, with one-third selecting destinations in the Middle East. The UAE stands as the top regional destination, followed by Saudi Arabia. As per the DET, India ranks as Dubai’s leading source market, with 1.9 million visitors in the first 10 months of 2023. Saudi Arabia aims for 7.5 million visitors by 2030.

To demonstrate the sheer magnitude and potential growth of India’s overall outbound market, before the pandemic in 2019, Indians made 26.9 million overseas trips; the report projects that by 2030, that figure could escalate to 50 million departures.

Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME at Arabian Travel Market, stated: “The surge in outbound travel from India is primarily propelled by the expanding middle class. In 2020, only 37 million households had an annual income between $10,000 and up to $35,000, but due to India’s rapid economic growth, by 2030, that number is expected to rise significantly to 177 million households.

“More specifically, households earning over $35,000 per annum are projected to increase from two million in 2020 to 13 million by 2030, marking a sixfold increase!

“And with India’s median age at just 28 years, it’s no surprise that the UNWTO recognizes India as one of the top three fastest-growing outbound markets globally. By 2030, India’s total travel expenditure is estimated to reach $410 billion.

“Putting that into perspective, before Covid, in 2019, it was valued at just $150 billion, reflecting a 173% increase.”

Furthermore, it’s not only the volume of Indian travelers that excites Middle East destinations. According to a survey by Acko Insurance, the majority of Indian travelers who responded were willing to spend up to $7,000 on international trips.

Another reason, as already mentioned, is the close proximity of the Gulf states, with Dubai being the most popular city destination for Indian travelers, just three hours' flight time from Mumbai. Additionally, increased connectivity and affordable air travel from tier-two cities are also driving demand, particularly direct flights with low-cost carriers.

“And with over 8.5 million Indian expatriates currently working in the GCC, business travel and bleisure will undoubtedly underpin this growth,” Curtis added.

ATM 2024 anticipates a record number of travel professionals representing outbound as well as inbound travel to India. Delegates, exhibitors, and attendees will have ample opportunity to network and establish new business contacts, as well as explore the Indian travel sector through various show features, including a dedicated India Summit, which will delve deeper into this vibrant market.

ATM 2024 will showcase a dedicated India summit titled ‘Unlocking the True Potential of Inbound Indian Travelers,’ taking place at ATM’s Global Stage on Day 1 of the show, Monday 6th May, from 14:45 to 15:25 in conjunction with VIDEC Consultants Private Limited. The Summit will explore the dynamics of India as a key source market for tourism growth, as well as current and future opportunities.

Last year’s ATM featured several high-profile exhibitors from India, including Air India, who exhibited for the first time, the Goa Department of Tourism, Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board, Uttar Pradesh Tourism, Karnataka Department of Tourism, Odisha Tourism, and Puducherry Tourism. This year, with an anticipated 20% increase in exhibitors from India, TBO.com, Taj Hotels, Rezlive, and Rategain have already confirmed. New exhibitors set to feature in the 2024 edition of the show include Verteil Technologies, Tulah Clinical Wellness, ZentrumHub, and The Paul Resorts & Hotels.

In line with its theme, ‘Empowering Innovation: Transforming Travel Through Entrepreneurship,’ the 31st edition of ATM will once again host a range of stakeholders from across the Middle East and beyond.

Held in conjunction with Dubai World Trade Centre, ATM 2024’s strategic partners include Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET), Destination Partner; Emirates, Official Airline Partner; IHG Hotels & Resorts, Official Hotel Partner; Al Rais Travel, Official DMC Partner, and Rotana Hotels & Resorts, Registration Sponsor.

The latest ATM news stories are available at https://hub.wtm.com/category/press/atm-press-releases/.

To register your interest in attending ATM 2024 or to submit a stand inquiry, visit https://www.wtm.com/atm/en-gb/enquire.html.