Is Indian travel industry losing big time on domestic travel? Is one segment of Indians shunning India altogether? Is India too expensive as a travel destination for Indians? Is it mandatory to leave India for your honeymoon? Of fourteen marriage invites I got this marriage season only one was going for honeymoon within India, rest thirteen were all headed abroad. Mauritius, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Maldives, Sri Lanka figured prominently. One couple from these thirteen went to Europe and none to mainland Africa/ North America or South America.
I asked the couple which went to Europe on why they were not going to North America, answer was you need at least fifteen days for the US and Canada, we have seven. So for them money was not an issue, time was. My second question to them brought in a great answer: Why are you not going within India? “Marquee hotels in India are prohibitively expensive during this season and staying at places other than them is risking too much”. This looks like a wake-up statement for stakeholders of travel industry. They are missing their paying segment. My question to the only couple who decided to go within India was the opposite: Why you are not going abroad? “The amount we will pay for the air tickets would take care of full honeymoon in India”. Twelve others who decided to go abroad came up with standard Delhi style cliche answers: My brother paid for it; It is once in a life time scenario; we could afford it; it is a happening destination etc. Little probing of course had the cat out of the bag: If you don’t go abroad for your honeymoon you are seen as someone who is not well off; it is cheaper to go abroad, to plan a decent honeymoon in India is expensive; there are good deals as recession is not getting too many places to these countries and so on.
Bottom line looks like a honeymoon abroad gives more bang for the buck and also offers more hype for the buck. Of course it can be silly to be going to Jaipur, staying at the Oberoi Rajvilas, paying Rs 30,000/- per night upwards only for the room and then hearing “Oh they just went to Jaipur, you know?” and it can be seen as absolutely maddening by a large section to be flying all the way to Cochin and then driving down to Kumarkom when you can get a package to Thailand and Singapore together for the same price.
Some thought has to go there, India needs to be upgraded for Indians and sold to Indians too.