Luxury Roundtable

Travel and hospitality

5 key trends redefining the Indian luxury travel industry

July 8, 2024

India's Taj Mahal in Agra is one of the most visited tourist sites in the world India's Taj Mahal in Agra is one of the most visited tourist sites in the world


By Sheetal Jain

Indian tourists are exploring all sorts of destinations for their holidays this summer, from Srinagar to Switzerland, Baku to Bhutan, Lakshadweep Islands to London, and the list goes on.

However, for each destination, the motivation to travel may be unique.

While some choose popular vacation spots, others prioritize their self-actualization needs to explore the world based on their interests, be it an eco-friendly gateway or a solo trip.

Do not be surprised to know that fans are traveling serious miles to enjoy their favorite sporting events or music concerts.

Redefined by meaning and motto, bespoke tours are on the top of young travelers’ bucket list.

Per recent research by Deloitte, around 50 percent of those surveyed in India want to spend more on experiences than on physical possessions.

Here are the key trends redefining the landscape of the Indian luxury travel industry:

Experiential travel: With more means and a penchant for experiential travel, young Indians seek immersive experiences. They believe in YOLO (you only live once) and live in FOMO (fear of missing out) and, hence, aspire to explore the world.

Per Finn Partner study, young Indians are more willing to spend on experiential travel than their older counterparts. They value unforgettable memories such as snorkelling in the house reef with an expert marine biologist or taking a zipwire through the rainforest to dine in the treetops.

Rather than being passive travelers, young consumers lay more emphasis on activities, sessions or workshops such as star gazing activity, cookery sessions or pottery workshops.

Key triggers for young Indians to splurge include unique and exclusive experiences (63 percent), luxury and indulgence (61 percent) and technology-driven experiences such as VR historical tours (51 percent).

Spiritual travel: There is growing craze among young Indians for genuine indigenous travel experiences from local cuisines to local natural attractions and culture immersions.

Domestic tourism has risen by 40 percent this summer, per a recent Economic Times report.

Within domestic travel, spiritual tourism in India has seen an extraordinary surge, with 60 percent of tourism now linked with religious places.

Searches for Ayodhya grew by 585 percent, Ujjain by 359 percent and Badrinath by 343 percent in 2023 compared to 2022.

There is growing expectation of young consumers beyond “darshan” – paying respects to a deity. They look for unique experiences such as cuisine trails, heritage walks, interaction with local communities, healing therapies and meditation sessions.

Several luxury hospitality players are encashing on this opportunity.

For example, Marriott International has announced hotel openings in places such as Katra and Ayodhya, Taj Hotels is planning to open a property in Pushkar and Radisson has opened a hotel in Gopalpur, Odisha.

Sheetal Jain Sheetal Jain

Self-exploration travel: The spirit of exploration and adventure is high among young Indian travelers, with 84 percent of Indians planning solo trips this year, outstripping the global average of 66 percent.

This increase in solo travel is mainly driven by a desire for self-discovery, with 46 percent of Indians stating "reconnecting with themselves" as the key motive, per the American Express 2024 Global Travel Trends Report.

Also, about 60 percent of Indian travelers expressed keenness for impromptu trips. The key reasons behind these trips are the freedom to explore without pressure (50 percent) and a desire to experience new cultures and local experiences (48 percent).

Mindful travel: Consumers are increasingly becoming health-conscious, making wellness tourism a next big trend in India.

The Indian wellness market is set to cross $72 billion by 2025, according to Government of India data.

Affluent travelers are seeking yoga retreats, mindful food menus, thermal spas, traditional treatments such as ayurveda and acupuncture, healing and rejuvenation.

The number of Indians investing in holistic wellness programs at exotic destinations such as Ananda in the Himalayas has doubled since the pandemic, unimpacted by the high price tags.

A recent report by CARE Ratings confirmed that with the increase in income levels and awareness, people in India are spending more on invisible experiential goods such as education, health and well-being while reducing spend on tangible flamboyant goods.

Eco-conscious travel: There is a growing preference for sustainability and eco-friendly vacations among young travelers.

Currently, more than 90 percent of Indians prefer sustainable travel. They wish to seamlessly integrate green practices in their entire journey from choosing eco-certified properties to supporting local communities, arts, crafts and culture, promoting wildlife conservation, preserving natural ecosystems and minimizing waste and consumption.

With increasing awareness of climate crisis, consumers are making more informed decisions.

Affluent consumers currently put more emphasis on quality of life and want to indulge in guilt-free pleasures. They value living a purposeful life and aim to explore meaningful experiences that build on their authentic-self.

Sheetal Jain is founder/CEO of Luxe Analytics, Delhi, India. Reach her at