Tour of Italy in a Ferrari or sitting at the tip of Victoria Falls also called the Hells Pool or watching gorillas in the forests of Rwanda or a flying cruise to Antarctica. Luxury travel in India just got bigger and if you are ready to shell out the extra dollars then these are some of the experiences that await you this holiday season.
“There is a huge market for luxury travel in India but very few players catering to this segment. We target only the top income bracket and handle only eight to nine clients in a month,” said Abhiskek Dadlani, founder and chief executive officer, Lushescapes. Dadlani left his banking job to open this luxury travel company five years ago and is confident of doubling his turnover of US 1 million by the next financial year due to the robust demand.
Dadlani is not alone to have realized the potential of this burgeoning market. One of the world’s leading luxury travel companies Abercrombie and Kent which has had a long stint in India since 1985, recently launched its private outbound division here. Reason was simple. “This was done as A&K could envisage an existing and evolving demand for experience based luxury travel from India wherein the clients are seeking bespoke holidays offering authentic and exclusive experiences to both established and emerging destinations,” said Vikram Madhok, Managing Director – Abercrombie & Kent India. The company had set up its India office to cater to foreign tourists visiting India in line with its global modus operandi.
Abercrombie’s recent expansion is part of its 2020 strategic growth plan to enter emerging markets like India and China. “We will offer our expertise and global services to the booming generation of wealthy clients seeking authentic luxury outbound travel,” Madhok added.
Experts say that this “recession proof segment of travel” is growing at 20-25 per cent year on year and the travellers are increasingly getting younger. According to a report by A T Kearney, the luxury sector in India is pegged at $14.7 billion in 2015 from $5.8 billion in 2010.
Companies like Thomas Cook too have dabbled into luxury travel with exclusive products like Indulgence, targeting high net worth individuals. Cox and Kings offers “luxury escapades” to tap into the same segment.
“The segment is nascent in India and many who have tried could not succeed as only knowledge sells when it comes to luxury travel,” Dadlani said.
Besides, compared to countries like Europe and the US, India still has a long way to go to match up on volumes and spend. Although industry experts say Indians are much more savvy travellers and while they don’t get into explicit details or fine tuning their itinerary they can’t do without an Indian meal. Well that too is a part of the luxury travel experience!