Indians have been bitten by the travel bug like never before. Gone are the days when heading mayeke with kids in tow, leaving the man of the house behind to deal with his daily grind, was the sole vacation ritual in middle class homes. Today, with earning and spending capabilities booming, more and more Indians are cosying up to the idea of indulgent vacations. Our social media feeds are proof. To put the astronomical rise in number of Indian travellers over almost two decades in perspective, sample this – as per the data from World Tourism Organisation, number of Indians travelling abroad in the year 2000 was pegged at less than 5 million. This figure rose to around 20 million in 2018, and by the UN agency’s estimate, is expected to go to 50 million over the next three years.
Now, the question is, where do these globe-trotting, wanderlusting Indians like to holiday. An analysis of travel trends projected by publications like the ET magazine and portals such as TripAdvisor, in the years 2015, 2016, 2017 indicates that preferred choices of the mainstream travellers have remained essentially the same over the years, with an exception of a few destinations changing ranks in popularity listings. Even though a sizeable chunk of Indian travellers today are seeking up and coming destinations for their vacations, the popular choices are likely to remain the same in 2018 too. Here are the top 10 international holiday destinations that Indians cannot get enough of:
According to data released by Singapore Tourism Board, the city-state has been receiving a record number of tourists from India for three years in a row. Given its uber modern vibe, state-of-the art architecture, eclectic mix of shopping avenues, great sight-seeing destinations, delicious food and friendly people, it is not hard to see why. The affordable travel and lodging options definitely add to the destination’s appeal.
UAE is the epitome of astute luxury that Indians envy and desire in equal measure. With its rich history, palm-shaped islands, indoor ski slopes, magnificent skyscrapers – which includes the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa – city-sized shopping malls, palatial resorts, adventure activities and a prevailing aura of opulence, UAE is a destination of glitz, glitter and dazzling glamour – just the right ingredients for a refreshing holiday.
Blame it on our colonial hangover or a thirst of places abounding in heritage and history, Indians just cannot seem to get enough of UK. Year after year, the country experiences a heavy influx of Indian tourists wanting to tour the Buckingham Palace, spot the Big Ben, ride on the London Eye, go exploring the stunning countryside of North Ireland, Wales and Scotland, visiting the myriad castles, cathedrals, churches and libraries.
USA is aspirational for its way of life, inspiring ingenuity, and diverse mix manmade and natural attractions. The Golden Gate Bridge in San Fran, the casinos of Las Vegas, the original Disneyland, the glitzy Hollywood, Mt Rushmore memorial, the Statue of Liberty, the Grand Canyon of Arizona, myriad beaches, bluegrass, redwood forests, national parks, snow-capped mountains, and an irresistible food scene. With the travel scene in India hotting up, a lot of people are looking at USA not just as country with a promise of more prosperous life but also a tourist destination worth exploring. An all-encompassing trip from the East Coast to the West Coast of the country remains a sought-after travel fad.
A destination that was once typecast as the land of massages with ‘happy endings’ and pocket-friendly shopping, Thailand has undergone a remarkable perception makeover in the eye of the quintessential Indian traveller. Its islands such as the Ko Samui, Ko Phi Phi and Patang are now among some of the preferred honeymoon destinations for Indian couples. The tropical beaches, islands with a dramatic landscape, glittering temples, great food and shopping avenues, a rich history and culture, and ever warm and welcoming natives more than justify all the hype building up around this place.
This continent-country down under is the latest entrant in the list of top international destinations visited by Indians. Given its wild and beautiful character, posh cities, multicultural fusion cuisines, rich cultural scene, and umpteen adventure avenues, it is hard to figure out why Indians took so long falling in love with this exotic land. The Sydney Opera House, Great Barrier Reef, Daintree Rainforest, Uluru-kata tjuta national park, and wine-producing regions remain some of the top attractions for travellers. Planning a trip? Do make room for the out-of-the-box Monarto Zoo near Adelaide in South Australia in your itinerary.
Think Hong Kong, and you automatically conjure up the image of a financial hub with a swanky skyscraper-studded skyline. Apart from being a vibrant urban centre and home to architectural landmarks, Hong Kong is also known for its colourful traditions, protected nature havens marked by lush greens and rare birds. One of the biggest draw cards for this destination is the Disney Land, the franchise of the famed wonderland-esque theme park closest to India.