Despite a visible slowdown in sectors like auto, realty and manufacturing, the tourism industry in India is booming. And the credit, surprisingly, goes to Indian travellers, belonging to tier-2, or tier-3 cities.

According to a TOI report, demand for doorstep visa services came from cities like Allahabad, Amravati, Thiruvananthapuram, Erode, Surat, Nagercoil, Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Tirupur, Muzaffarpur, Palakkad, Indore, Guwahati, Jodhpur and Chattarpur (MP). The highest number of visa applications was processed in Nagpur, followed by Indore. In one year, doorstep visa applications in Shillong grew from two to 150.

Travel loans are playing a significant role in this spurt the tourism industry is witnessing. According to the UN World Tourism Organisation, 50 million Indians are estimated to travel abroad in 2019, more than double the number in 2017. Domestic tourism, too, has increased multifold to 1.65 billion in 2017 from 220 million in 2000. Trip organisers are also tying up with banks to facilitate the credit offer.

According to the World Economic Forum Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2019, India is ranked at 34th position, which was 40th in 2017. India is the only lower-middle-income category country which is privileged to be in the top 35. Millennials are not averse to take loans for travelling.

This summer, Thomas Cook India reported 22 per cent growth in bookings owing to various factors including the growing demand from the smaller cities and the country’s transition from a saver’s economy to a spender’s economy.

Indian millennials, a big growth driving segment, are increasingly looking for offbeat destinations and unique experiences. Thomas Cook said it has witnessed around 28% increase for experiences like scuba diving (Andamans/Malaysia), fissure snorkelling (Iceland) and alpine treks/glacier climbs (Switzerland/Canada/Scandinavia). Additionally, adrenalin highs of sky diving/bungee jumping/zorbing/abseiling (Australia-New Zealand and South Africa) are in demand for their brag worthiness. In fact, most millennials prioritize experiences over luxury and economise on transport and accommodation and splurge on local and interest/passions based experiences.

The firm also reported a 50-60% jump in travel loans.