Big Indian destination wedding bells toll strongly

The Indian destination wedding market is growing exponentially, spreading joy to both domestic destinations as well as overseas ones.

Speaking at the PATA Travel Mart 2023 Forum, Rajeev Jain, founder and managing director, Rashi Entertainment India, noted that the market is growing at a rate of 30 per cent and had generated approximately US$40 billion in the period between October and December 2022, based on a report released by ICICI Bank.

Hotels in Asia are hoping to draw Indian couples by offering attractive wedding packages

“This highlights the immense scale and significance of the sector,” said Jain.

Other research conducted by Ernst & Young and Deloitte pegged the global wedding industry at US$400 billion, with India alone accounting for a significant US$50 billion share.

Jain said: “Indian weddings are not just about single-room bookings; they represent a colossal affair, often involving bookings for 500 rooms per night. Despite soaring prices for hotels, artists, and other essentials, Indians are continuing to invest in their dream weddings – 25 per cent of budgets are directed to venues, hotels, catering, and logistics.”

In India, Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Agra, Delhi, Goa, Mussoorie, and Mahabalipuram are a hit with couples looking to celebrate their union in a big way. However, escalating hotel rates, especially in popular wedding destinations, are forcing Indian couples to explore international alternatives for their nuptials.

“Countries like Bahrain and Oman are emerging as competitive alternatives due to their relatively lower costs for hosting high-end Indian weddings. The UAE, Turkey, and Bali are also (attracting attention),” said Jain.

Thailand, however, appears to be losing steam among Indian lovebirds, observed Jain, who shared that the destination is now hosting just 375 to 400 weddings compared to 1,000 weddings annually before.

Malaysia, no stranger to lavish Indian destination weddings, is looking to take a bigger slice of the pie.

Musa Yusof, deputy director general, promotion, Tourism Malaysia, told TTG Asia: “Indian weddings is one of the niche markets we are focused on. Our priority has been on making Malaysian wedding products ready for the Indians. We participate in wedding shows in India and work closely with Indian wedding planners.”

Musa emphasised that Malaysia is an increasingly exciting option for Indian couples, considering the expanded range of hotels ready for such celebrations.

“There are many hotels in Malaysia that are keen to tap the potential vested in the Indian destination wedding market,” he added.

Some of the destinations Tourism Malaysia is eager to highlight for Indian destination weddings include Kuala Lumpur, Port Dickson, Sabah, Langkawi and Selangor.

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