Inbound tourism booms, 12.5% rise in contactless cross-border transactions, ET TravelWorld

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<p>Bengaluru: Spectators during the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 match between India and Netherlands, at M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. (PTI Photo/Shahbaz Khan)</p>
Bengaluru: Spectators during the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 match between India and Netherlands, at M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. (PTI Photo/Shahbaz Khan)

The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, hosted in India, not only thrilled cricket enthusiasts but also catalyzed a substantial influx of international tourists, resulting in a remarkable 12.5 per cent increase in contactless cross-border transactions, according to a recent report by Visa, the global digital payments player.

While the World Cup matches were the primary draw, international visitors seized the opportunity to explore India’s rich culture and tourist destinations extensively. Cities like Jaipur, Agra, Goa, Varanasi, and Udaipur emerged as top favorites among travelers.

Spending Patterns
During their stay in India, international travellers directed their spending predominantly towards clothing and accessories, restaurants, and retail goods.

A notable revelation was the surge in contactless transactions, constituting 36 per cent of cross-border transactions. This marked a substantial increase, almost double the rate of domestic contactless transactions during the same period.

The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, a global spectacle, triggered a surge in travel to India, echoing the impact of major sporting and cultural events worldwide. Earlier instances, such as the UEFA Final in Istanbul and Taylor Swift tours, also witnessed a profound influence on travel patterns and expenditures.

The 46-day World Cup period witnessed a significant rise in international visitors from participating and non-participating nations. Top venues like Ahmedabad, Mumbai, and Kolkata experienced surges in airfare prices ranging from 30 per cent to 60 per cent. According to Skyscanner’s Travel in Focus Report, 75 per cent of respondents expressed a willingness to expand their travel budgets to witness live cricket matches.

Coinciding with the festive season of Diwali, the World Cup’s timeline prompted international visitors to extend their travel itineraries beyond match venues. Popular destinations included Jaipur, Agra, Goa, Varanasi, and Udaipur. Among the participating nations, England, Australia, South Africa, and Bangladesh emerged as the significant contributors to expenditures during the World Cup matches in India.

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Asia and the Pacific lagged behind, reaching only 62 per cent of pre-pandemic levels during this period due to a slower reopening to international travel. Notably, South Asia displayed a remarkable recovery of 95 per cent, while North-East Asia trailed at approximately 50 per cent, illustrating mixed performances among subregions.

Visa, renowned for its digital payment solutions, provided valuable insights into payment trends during the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023. The data revealed a substantial 12.5 per cent growth in contactless cross-border transactions compared to July 2023, pre-festive season. A noteworthy statistic was that 36 per cent of cross-border transactions in India were contactless, indicating a significant shift in payment preferences.

Sushmit Nath, Head of Visa Consulting & Analytics – India and South Asia, shared his perspective on the findings, stating, “The high voltage Men’s Cricket World Cup, an ongoing festive season and Diwali have led to a spike in international travel to India, consequently having a positive effect on international as well as domestic consumer spends.”

The World Cup not only showcased India as a cricketing destination but also underscored the country’s appeal as a cultural and tourist hotspot, with Visa’s data providing a nuanced understanding of the evolving dynamics in consumer behavior and payments.

  • Published On Dec 7, 2023 at 12:06 PM IST

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