India Market Profile

As California’s global footprint continues to expand, India projects to be “the next China” in terms of visitation, and Visit California has already been planting roots and cultivating relationships in advance of the inevitable boom. California welcomed its first direct, nonstop flight from India in 2016. With an additional airlift opportunities and growing affluences, India is primed for significant growth and has been recently named California's #1 opportunity market.


  • India continues to see long-term, stable economic growth.
  • Air India expanded to nine weekly direct flights from New Delhi to San Francisco in 2018.
  • Many Indians research online, but book transactions offline.
  • “Bleisure” (business + leisure), student, and sports travel are becoming common practice.
  • For Indian tourists the average stay is over three weeks.
  • Nuclear families with disposable income place emphasis on family-friendly experiences.

India Profile

In Person Trips, 2018
$847 Million
Visitor Spending, 2018

Market Conditions

GDP Annual Growth Rate

Major governmental reforms were undertaken over the past year. The transformational Goods and Services Tax (GST) was launched on Jul. 1, 2017 and the economy began to accelerate in the second half of the year. This should allow real GDP growth rise to 7–7.5 percent in 2018–19, thereby re-instating India as the world’s fastest growing major economy. India’s long-term growth has become more steady, stable, diversified and resilient. As a result of the government’s unrelenting ‘Digital India’ push, digital transactions in the country have reached a record high in 2018. India is one of the most “dynamic emerging economies” and is likely to grow this year due to strong private demand and government reforms.

Exchange Rate

  • 1 Indian Rupee equals 0.0142 U.S. Dollar
  • With elevated global crude prices, the rupee is likely to be under pressure and may touch the 76 levels against the U.S. currency over the next month.

Travel & Planning Methodologies


  • 8 weekly non stop flights
  • 2,100 weekly non stop seats (+43.2%)
  • California is one of the most popular states visited by Indians in the United States with SFO and LAX as major gateways into North America. San Francisco remains the second most popular gateway into North America from India after New York. All major international airlines serving India have connectivity to California via the Atlantic, Pacific and the Gulf Oceans.


  • Planning and booking timeframes: 3 to 4 months in advance; for FIT travel, the typical planning timeframe is 8 to 12 weeks prior to departure.
  • Booking pattern: The Indian traveler researches online via desktop or mobile for the inspiration. However, more than half of the travelers shift to offline sources to complete their transactions, especially for long haul travel.

Market Barriers & Risk Factors

Competitive Landscape

Key competitors for California are long haul destinations such as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa & European countries.

Other Market Insights


  • The Luxury Market is growing at an annual rate of 12.8 percent, higher than that of any other emerging BRIC country. India has 245,000 millionaires; with a projected growth to 372,000 millionaires by 2022.


  • Growing purchasing power and rising affluence in India are the biggest driver of increase in travel.
  • Over 750 million people are under the age of 35.
  • With greater urbanization, the market is seeing an emergence of Tier 2 cities as major growth centers and drivers for outbound travel.


  • Family Travel: The structure of the traveling Indian family has changed over the years with 70% of households being nuclear families and younger decision makers. Nuclear families have more disposable income and reflect spend of up to 30% more per capita than multi-generational families. With women and children now contributing heavily to holiday planning decisions, key motivators for family travel include bonding time, activities, family attractions, outdoor activities, food, entertainment and shopping.
  • Interests of millennials include self-drive holidays, festivals & events, entertainment and adventure which is a great opportunity for destinations beyond the gateways. Outdoor and Adventure travel has seen immense growth among this generation.
  • Bleisure travel, student and sports travel is increasing.


  • Ministry for Finance
  • UN Report
  • U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Tourism Economics
  • CIC Research, Inc.

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