The Canary Islands and Basque Country are some of the new destinations on the radar of the Indian outbound, shares Miguel-Nieto Sandoval, Director and Tourism Counsellor, Tourism Office of Spain in India and Abu Dhabi. He suggests that the Indian outbound is increasingly relying on the ‘word-of-mouth’ feedback, inclined more towards sampling the experience quotient of a destination. He expresses tremendous confidence in the Indian market. Excerpts from an exclusive interview:

What are some big trends to have emerged from the Indian outbound to Spain? Has the outbound taken to any of the previously unexplored destinations in the country?

Miguel-Nieto Sandoval
Director and Tourism Counsellor,
Tourism Office of Spain in India and Abu Dhabi

Indians have become more digital now and technology-savvy than ever before. Their choices are now based on experiences shared by their relatives, friends and acquaintances on social media and other digital platforms. Avid Indian travellers have now started to make the choice of destination based on travel blogs and websites with travel opinions from real travellers. The latest trend that has emerged from India is the genre of travellers for honeymoon and weddings, solo woman travellers, 50+ aged travellers (seniors), travellers for active and wellness tourism.

Spain has also seen a surge in terms of arrivals to unexplored destinations of Spain like the Canary Islands and Basque Country. These destinations have different tourist offerings and are still less known to an Indian traveller. A decent amount of interest has been showcased by Indians for such offbeat Spanish destinations which has not been spoken about much in the past.

How has the Indian market been in 2018, in terms of volume and business?

India is a very potential market for outbound tourism to Spain from India. Indians are looking for offbeat, unusual experiences these days and Spain is the perfect destination for this. In terms of volume and business, Spain has been able to maintain a very steady growth of Indian arrivals. Since many years, Spain has maintained a double-digit growth from the perspective of Indian Outbound travel to Spain. In 2017, Spain received 141,122 tourists from India, a growth of 33.6% compared to 2016. In 2018, Spain received 206,463 tourists from India, which lead to an increase of 46.30% compared to 2017. Source: FRONTUR-INE.

Our market research studies show that the seasonality of an Indian traveller to Spain is at its peak between the months of April to August and October to December. The average stay of an Indian traveller in Spain was about seven days in the years 2017 and 2018.

Spain is an ideal destination for every kind of traveller. The year-on-year growth has been exponential and thanks to the varied tourist benefits such as quality accommodation at most competitive rates along with an offer of easy and friendly leisure activities, it is clear that the numbers are expected to grow even further to Spain from India.

What is the market segmentation like in India? How much of your business comes from key metro cities?  Have tier-2 and 3 markets shown growth? If yes, then what are some key markets therein?

Our primary markets and a major chunk for arrivals from India come from the big metropolitan PAN Indian cities of Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Kolkata and Pune. Tier 2 cities like Vadodara, Chandigarh and Nagpur have shown phenomenal growth in the last 3 years. We are still exploring the possibilities of Indian outbound from smaller Tier 3 category Indian cities, however, we foresee great potential from tier 2 and tier 3 markets as well, as we believe that individuals in such cities have the interest and disposable income for travel to a long-haul destination like Spain, but they lack sufficient knowledge and resource to make a choice for their next travel destination.

Although until now we were working only in Tier 1 markets, we are already actively working in Tier 2 with a very good response from the sector.