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BMI's tourism report for India examines the expected trends across a range of key indicators in the market through to 2017. India has an enormous potential domestic market, and the burgeoning domestic economy should see substantial increases in outbound travel. At the same time, India is benefitting from an increase in inbound travel, and together these increases in travel are boosting expenditure in the hotel industry and beyond.
While India does have an extensive rail network, and many domestic and international hotels, the country's transport infrastructure is still in need of expansion and modernisation. Good progress was made during preparations for the Commonwealth Games in 2010, and the government is investing in further improvements. In particular we expect to see overall
growth in the air travel industry, with continuing recovery from the economic and managerial problems seen in 2011 and 2012.
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Rail travel will remain vital to the country, as India has one of the world's largest rail networks. It frequently experiences problems with overcrowding and a lack of adequate ficilities, and this is limiting long-term growth options. Expansion and improvement of capacity is vital if the country is to keep up with the expected increase in demand. India is hosting the World Twenty20 cricket tournament in 2016 and we expect to see further infrastructure improvements made before then.
Investors are attracted to India by its large labour reseource pool, excellent natural resources, strong international market links and generally stable democracy. However, there are lingering security concerns, particularly with regional tensions with Pakistan and threats from terrorist groups as exemplified by the Mumbai hotel attacks in 2008, led by terrorist groups based in Pakistan. There are also increasing concerns related to a spate of high-profile violent attacks on women in the past year, including tourists, which could also affect inbound travel. It is therefore important that the government is seen to take a strong stance against violence of this nature.
In spite of the security concerns, India remains an extremely popular tourist destination, which in recent years has developed from a backpacker destination to a luxury tourism market with an increasing number of high end resorts and hotels catering to the higher spending travellers. The strength of the tourism market means that although we expect to see the global credit crunch continue to impact on long-distance travel to the country from Europe and the United States, overall we expect to see an increase in travel from all regions, particularly from within the Asia Pacific region.
Key BMI forecasts include:
* We expect to see an increase in the number of hotels in the country, with many of the major hotel chains expanding their presence in India. These chains include Hyatt, which opened five new hotels in early 2013, and Starwood, which expects to open between six and eight new hotels in 2013 and aims to have 100 hotels under different stages of development by 2015.
* Large-scale investment in transport infrastructure will continue with the development of the international airport at Navi Mumbai, expansion of Indira Gandhi International Airport and Cochin International Airport, as well as many other projects on the rail network.
* Outbound travel is expected to continue to increase by between 9% and 14% per year to reach over 22.5mn per year by 2017, an increase on the previously forecast 20mn travellers per year by 2017, based on an improved domestic economic forecast.
* Inbound tourism is also expected to increase, albeit at a lower rate of around 5% to 6% per year, to reach over 8.4mn by 2017.
* This quarter, BMI awarded India an overall Tourism Industry Risk/Reward rating of 43.64, putting it ahead of Indonesia but behind Cambodia to rank 18 th out of 21 in the Asia Pacific region.
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