India's travel market is forecast to grow to $125 billion by the financial year (FY) 2027 and as the complexity of travel increases in the pandemic, over 3 lakh agents are expected to cater to over $65 billion of the overall market size by the same time period, a new report showed on Tuesday.
Amid the pandemic-related uncertainties, customers now prefer to make travel booking through agents. Eighty per cent of international air travel and international leisure travel is being booked through agents in the country.
"Top 750 agents are doing Rs 3-4 crore of business per month, capturing 12 per cent of the agent travel market. These agents largely focus on air travel and have corporate tie-ups," according to data provided by RedCore, an arm of Bengaluru-based market research firm RedSeer.
These are followed by 60,000 agents who are of medium size and do a business of Rs 20 lakh per month. They focus on selling holiday packages. These agents capture more than 50 per cent agent market share. Remaining 35 per cent travel agent market share is captured by a long chain of 250,000 small agents, the report noted.
"Travel in India is still heavily dependent on agents. Agents not just offer convenience and trust, but are also price competitive to direct booking. They represent 50 per cent plus of the travel market share and are expected to maintain this share in coming years," said Anuj Kumar, Director at RedCore.
The overall travel market in India was $75 billion in FY20, and is expected to cross $125 billion by FY27. "The travel market shrunk significantly in FY21 but the recovery is expected to continue in FY22, and also expects to see a spike in the later years due to pent-up demand," the report noted.
The findings showed that there is a lack of players operating in the packages segment, who could curate the package according to customer requirements.
"The Indian travel market is dominated by 300,000 travel agents who represent the largest share by booking channel of 52 per cent and the role of agents significantly increased in Covid times," the report added.