Better international connectivity from Tier 2 cities fuels increase in outbound travel this summer

Better international connectivity from Tier 2 cities fuels increase in outbound travel this summer

International flights from tier-2 airports such as Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Amritsar and Kochi are fueling outbound travel from India this summer, according to a study conducted by Cox & Kings.

Gone are the days when travellers from tier-2 cities would have to travel long distances to the nearest international airport to take a flight overseas be it Dubai, Bangkok, Singapore or Kuala Lumpur. The increase in international flight operations from airports in Tier 2 cities like Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Kochi has fuelled the demand for outbound travel.

According to a study conducted by Cox & Kings, the number of passengers travelling overseas for leisure travel from these cities has doubled in the last one year and this is expected to grow, as it gets more convenient to travel to international hubs such as Dubai, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur etc.,

The growth generated from these tier- 2 cities stands at between 25 to 30 percent and these are catered by full-service carriers such as Emirates, Etihad and also LCCs such as Tiger Air, Silk Air and Thai Smile. The advent of LCCs from these airports has also brought down the fares quite significantly.

According to Karan Anand—head, relationships, Cox & Kings, “the outbound travel market is growing between 12 to 15 percent year-on-year and this growth is to a large extent driven from tier-2 and tier-3 cities. This shift in travel pattern coupled with the up gradation of these airports to accommodate wide-bodied aircraft has encouraged Indian and international carriers to start flights from these new destinations.’’

He further adds, “the recent move by Air Asia to start flights from Bhubaneshwar to Kuala Lumpur has opened up new markets for people residing in Odisha planning a visit to the Far East and Australia. Otherwise, they were forced to either travel to Mumbai or Delhi to connect to international gateways.’’

For instance, Lucknow is connected internationally to Bangkok, Singapore, Muscat, Dubai and Abu Dhabi making it convenient for people from UP to travel to Europe, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.

On the other hand, Ahmedabad airport is now connected directly to London, Doha, Dubai and Kuala Lumpur amongst other airlines. These airlines destinations are the hubs for Indian international travel to popular tourist destinations in Europe and USA. The weakening of the pound has led to an increase in traffic from Ahmedabad to the UK.

Similarly, international airports such as Jaipur have direct flights to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bangkok, Singapore, Sharjah and Muscat, whereas Chandigarh which has direct flights to Dubai and Sharjah will soon have a direct connection to Bangkok this month. This has led to the opening of new markets.

Kochi airport has also seen such significant jump and last month Kochi airport inaugurated their new international terminal to cater the increase in demand. South East Asia’s destination from Kochi is just under five hours. The proximity to South East Asia from Kochi has also led to an increase in cruise tourism as it is well connected to the cruising hubs of Singapore and Penang in Malaysia.

Anand concluded, “An interesting highlight of the new gateways in tier-2 cities is the increase in short-haul travel. Destinations such as Dubai, Singapore, Abu Dhabi, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok have witnessed a growth of between 15 to 20 percent as they do not have to travel to any other Indian international airport thereby making the most of their holiday.‘’ Direct flight connectivity from tier- 2 cities also stimulates travel from regions around the gateway as well.

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