The World Travel & Tourism Council has predicted that by the year 2028, India will become the world's third-largest travel and tourism economy, following China and the US.
It seems quite plausible given the fact that Indian travellers took nearly two billion domestic and international trips in 2018 and spent a whopping USD 94 billion on transportation, lodging and consumption during those trips, this according to an April 2019 study by Bain & Company.
India's travel industry is now poised to grow 13 percent CAGR to USD 136 billion by 2021. And while offline channels continue to be the preferred medium for bookings, we can expect nearly 24 billion in incremental bookings made online by 2021 on the back of increased internet penetration, taking the share of online booking channels from 25 percent to 35 percent.
One company that has been on the right side of India's love for travel is MakeMyTrip. It is now, by far the most popular online platform for most Indian travellers looking to book their journeys in this highly competitive & fragmented space. And the numbers speak for themselves - MakeMyTrip saw gross bookings for its third quarter grow 19 percent at a cool USD 1.7 billion and has managed to halve operating losses as it works to become the one-stop-shop for all travel services.
Shereen Bhan spoke to Deep Kalra Chairman & Group CEO of MakeMyTrip to understand the road ahead for the company and travel and tourism sector.
Kalra spoke about his expansion plans. "In terms of geographical expansion we think the time has come, there are some markets internationally and you will hear from the company over time where we are going to make a foray as a local brand. So not just sending people overseas or addressing non-resident Indians overseas coming to India, but this is actually being a local brand in some markets we see opportunities where we can replicate what we have done in India. So it is going to be stuff like that."
Speaking on impact of coronavirus he said, "The current coronavirus scare is obviously a real global crisis particularly in the east, we have had cancellations which is obviously not surprising and not just to China but also to Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Malaysia and other parts of South East Asia and which is to be expected."
On facing pressure from customers in these trying times, Kalra said, "We are trying to help out the customers the best we can, trying to get full refunds or at least get the ability that you can use this same kind of booking credit for a long period of time over 6 months or over 12 months because sometimes that is all we can do rather than the customers losing out completely."