Southeast Asia emerged as a favored destination for Indian tourists. This marks India as a growth market for the travel and tourism sector. Companies, including airlines like IndiGo and Thai Airways, and hospitality chains, are capitalizing on the rising spending power.

Aviation analyst Brendan Sobie highlighted Southeast Asia’s strategic position to benefit from India’s inevitable growth at an industry conference. Prior to the pandemic, the travel and tourism industry contributed around 12 percent to the region’s GDP. It employed over 40 million people in Southeast Asia, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

With Chinese Tourists On The Decline, Indian Tourists Rises

While China was the main driver of the sector’s growth for the past decade, weak recovery post-pandemic resulted in a significant decline. However, the potential influx of Indian tourists promises a recalibration of airline capacity, hospitality offerings and tourism operators.

The Asian Development Bank predicts that India could become the next growth story in outbound tourism. Thailand has seen a relatively smaller decline in Indian tourists compared to Chinese visitors. With Indians spending around $180 per day during their week-long visits, the country remains an important source market.

The Airline and Hospitality Industry Already Adapting

Mountain rice field at Chiang Mai, Thailand
Photo Credit: wiratgasem

Major players, like Thai Airways, are already increasing flight frequencies to India. Indian budget carrier IndiGo has observed a strong demand for routes connecting India with Southeast Asia. Seat capacity on scheduled flights between China and Southeast Asia remains below pre-pandemic levels. However, flights from India to the region have recovered to about 90 percent.

Hospitality chains, including Minor Hotels, are experiencing a post-pandemic rebound. Indian visitors are contributing to their recovery. Minor Hotels, with over 6,000 rooms in Southeast Asia, considers the Indian market consistently among its top source markets.

Southeast Asia is an Attractive Region for Indian Travelers

The rise in flight bookings from India to Bangkok confirms the growing interest in Southeast Asia. The convenience and affordability of travel, and easier visa access make the region an attractive choice for Indian travelers.

Thailand’s central bank expects a steady increase in visitor numbers with the tourism sector projected to drive economic growth in the coming years.