Online Travel Companies See Surge in Sports Tourism in India – India Report

Skift Take

Indian travelers are combining their love for sports with increased spending power to experience major sporting events live. To better understand the trend in sports tourism, Skift reached out to online travel companies – here’s what they’re seeing.

Sports tourism is on a rise in India, with the country’s sports tourism market expected to be valued at nearly $53 billion in 2033, according to a report released by market research firm Future Market Insights last year. The firm expects the industry to grow at an annual rate of 17.1% from its valuation of $11 billion in 2023. 

Major sporting events, including the cricket T20 World Cup series, Wimbledon, and the 2024 Olympics are coming soon. These tournaments are popular among sport enthusiasts in India, and as the spending power of Indian travelers is increasing, there seems to be an increased interest in seeing them live.

Skift reached out to online travel companies to understand the trends that they are seeing:

Rajeev Kale – President and Country Head, Holidays, MICE, Visa at Thomas Cook (India) Limited: “Our consumer data trends for 2024 highlight a 40% surge in demand for big-ticket global sporting events. Topping the list is the cricket World Cup series, Wimbledon, the Olympics, and F1. We have received about 200 queries including confirmed group bookings for the anticipated India-Pakistan cricket match in New York.”

Kale said that these events play a key role in influencing travel decisions, with 23% of consumers taking them into account while choosing destinations. 

“What is truly encouraging is that Indians are clearly displaying a spend appetite for such sporting extravaganzas.”

Daniel D’Souza – President and Country Head at Holidays, SOTC Travel: Sports tourism is becoming a major driver for the Indian market, said D’Souza. “The demand is increasing by 20-35%. Live attendance is an exciting and desirable experience for Indian travelers, evident by their dominance in overseas ticket purchases for major sporting events such as cricket, Wimbledon and Australian Open in lawn tennis, and football.” 

D’Souza added that sports tourism used to be a niche market in India previously, but is now attracting a wider audience, including high net worth individuals and ultra high net worth individuals, families, and young Indians across Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities.

Santosh Kumar – Country Manager for India, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Indonesia at “Indian sports fans are traveling the world to watch their favorite sporting events. According to our travel trends for 2024, 73% of Indian travelers are planning to travel internationally for sporting events this year. We are seeing this passion translating into real action with our accommodation search data revealing a rise in searches for host destinations.”

Kumar shared that London, Paris, and New York are among the top 10 most searched destinations by Indians – corresponding with events like Wimbledon Championships, Paris 2024 Olympics, and the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup respectively. 

TBO Tek Reports 35% Increase in Net Profit

Travel distribution platform TBO Tek has announced its financial results for the fiscal 2024. It reported a 35% increase in its net profit as well as a 31% growth in its revenue. 

TBO Tek co-founder Gaurav Bhatnagar said, “In the coming year, we will continue to invest in global market development, supply strengthening, and platform innovation. We will be looking for strategic inorganic opportunities as well.”

TBO Tek has recently launched its IPO following which it recorded a strong debut on the Indian stock exchanges. The company is planning to use its IPO funds for strategic acquisitions and investments, Bhatnagar told Skift in an interview.

Radisson Signs its First Hotel in Bihar 

Radisson Hotel Group has signed its first hotel in the Indian state of Bihar. The 120-key Radisson Hotel Patna is expected to open in 2026. 

“We are excited to achieve another milestone in our journey of expanding our presence in Tier 2 and Tier 3 regions of the country,” said Radisson’s South Asia area senior vice president Nikhil Sharma. 

The company has been strategically focusing on Tier 1 as well as smaller markets in India for its growth across brands. It recently debuted its luxury lifestyle brand, Radisson Collection, in India. 

In an interview with Skift, Radisson executive vice president Elie Younes said, “India has seen significant economic growth over the past few decades, leading to an increase in disposable income and a growing appetite for luxury lifestyle experiences. We recognize the immense potential of this flourishing market.”

Royal Orchid Hotels’ Total Income Increases by 12%

Royal Orchid Hotels has announced that its total income in the fiscal 2024 increased by 12% as compared to fiscal 2023. Its profit after tax has seen a marginal increase of 3%. 

However, the company is gearing up for the next financial year, said chairman and managing director Chander K Baljee. “We are implementing key drivers for growth to demonstrate our vision for the future of Indian hospitality – by redefining brands, strengthening our management team, and bringing in new technologies and processes. Financial year 2025 is poised to be a  transformative year, setting the company up for the future,” he said. 

The company is planning to add 30-35 new properties with about 2,000 rooms in fiscal 2025 as part of its expansion plans across India.

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