Image: courtesy Tripadvisor
Agents will dominate India travel biz

December 18 2021: The travel market in India was around $75 billion in the fiscal year 2020, and is expected to cross $125 billion by fiscal 2027,  finds a report by RedCore, a  division of   advisory firm, RedSeer, which focuses on early-stage companies .
The report entitled Travel market in India  says the Indian travel market is a fragmented sector, where the customer is spoilt for choice. This is reinforced by the presence of multiple categories of players – travel agents, B2C online booking platforms, and others comprising walk-ins, touts, telephone booking, etc.
With the easing of COVID-19 restrictions and the ongoing successful vaccination drive, Indians are set to resume domestic and international travel from FY22. Overcoming the sharp 50%+ business reversal in FY21 owing to the pandemic, India’s travel market is expected to record a steep recovery in FY22 and beyond.
Travel booking channels would continue to be dominated by the presence of over 300,000 travel agents whose market share is expected to be maintained at a consistent 50%+ between FY20-27, translating into a cumulative booking value of $65Bn in FY27. A notable trend is that customers preferred to opt for travel bookings via agents as the perceived complexity of travel increases. Backed by convenience, customization, trust, competitive pricing, and end-to-end solution.
Travel packages are the core offering by the travel agent, with about 45% share of the agent travel market.
Agents complain that not many travel booking portals are offering package booking
Holiday packages - $17 billion, standalone flights - $10 billion and standalone hotels ~$5 billion constitute the majority of the agent booking market while cab, intercity bus and railways contribute the remaining $6 billion
The airline travel market in India was valued at  around $20 billion (domestic + international) in FY20, expected to double in size by FY 27. This growth will be driven by improving airport infrastructure and increasing access to passports.  About 65% of the air travel by value is booked by agents while the rest is B2C Online channel. During Covid, the uncertainties related to travel including tests, change of travel date, delay in travel due to restrictions motivated travellers to take the agent route for making the ticket booking.  By FY27, the agent share is expected to be around 60%. 
The hotel market size in India including domestic, inbound and outbound was ~$32 billion in FY20 and is set to grow to reach around $52 billion by FY27. Agents again dominate with approximate 45% share by channel which is expected to sustain 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.