The number of Indian tourists visiting the UAE on annual basis is expected to reach 3.3 million by 2023, according to the latest travel trends, representing an increase of six percent on current numbers. 

“A combination of the UAE’s world class shopping facilities, single digit flight schedules and similar cultural traditions will continue to spur international travel from India to the Middle East in the coming years,” the report titled ‘Tourism Source Market Insight: India’ by GlobalData, said.

The report also revealed that the expenditure on outbound tourism by Indians has been growing in the recent years, with the total outbound expenditure reaching $25.4 billion last year from $23.7 billion in 2017, an increase of 7 percent year-on-year.

Another report on the Indian tourism industry has projected the industry to grow at a CAGR of 13 percent to $136 billion by 2021.

“Indian travellers spent nearly $94 billion on transportation, lodging and consumption on about 2 billion domestic and international trips in 2018,” according to a recent report by Google and Bain & Co titled ‘How Does India Travel’.

According to the GlobalData report, the rising disposable income with middle class families and the growing perception among Indians that their social status will be elevated while travelling to fashionable cities in the Middle East will continue the momentum in the growth trend for years to come.

“Several varieties of Indian food and a wide range of activities such as sports, night-clubbing and heritage tours help to attract different age segments within the Indian source market to the UAE,” the GlobalData report revealed.  

The report also said the popularity of the UAE has had a positive impact on its surrounding nations. 

“From 2019 to 2023, visitation numbers from India to Saudi Arabia are also predicted to grow at a CAGR of 5.4 percent, with inbound flows growing from 1.8 million to 2.2 million,” it said.  

Similar to the UAE, Saudi Arabia’s cost-friendly access through Indian budget airlines has made it a popular destination for pilgrims. 

“India was among the top three nationalities to visit Saudi Arabia every year for religious purposes. In 2017, around 700,000 Indian pilgrims travelled to Saudi Arabia to perform either the Hajj or Umrah,” the GlobalData report said. 

The Google and Bain report projected a 12 percent growth in travel-related transportation and 13 percent growth in lodging by Indian travellers, while their spend on consumption – including shopping, recreation and food – likely to grow at 13 percent over the next three years.

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