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Indians Spend $31.7 Bn in Overseas Travel: 6 Key Reasons for the Surge

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Indians Spend $31.7 Bn in Overseas Travel: 6 Key Reasons for the Surge

Remember that trip to Europe you always dreamed of? Or that adventure to Southeast Asia that got put on hold? Well, it seems many Indians are finally making those dreams a reality. A recent report reveals a travel boom, with Indians spending a record-breaking $31.7 billion overseas in FY24. 

This overseas travel trend translates to a 17% increase compared to the previous year, highlighting a robust post-pandemic economic recovery. This increase from the previous year marks a significant trend, and international travel has emerged as the biggest expense category. 

According to the annual remittance data, there has been a remarkable surge in overseas travel spending, reaching $17 billion in FY24—up over 24.5% from $13.6 billion the previous year. Before the pandemic, the proportion of international travel in LRS spending soared to 53.6% in FY24, compared to 37% in FY20. During FY21, mobility restrictions dropped international travel spending to $3.2 billion.

 Source: Economic Times

International travel has dethroned education as the most significant expense under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS). In the pre-pandemic era, expenses like tuition fees and medical bills were the frontrunners. Now, 53.6% of the total LRS spending goes towards international travel.

6 Key Reasons For Boom in Overseas Travel

Post-Pandemic Pent-Up Demand: For over two years, international borders were closed, flights grounded, and travel plans remained unfulfilled. With restrictions easing, there’s a surge in demand for travel experiences. People are eager to explore, reconnect with the world, and create lasting memories.

Economic Recovery: The record-breaking spending signifies a robust economic rebound in India. Rising disposable incomes mean more Indians have the financial means to embark on dream vacations and explore new destinations.

Global Travel Boom: This trend isn’t unique to India. We’re witnessing a global travel boom as people seek to break free from pandemic restrictions and experience new cultures.

Shifting Priorities: Traditionally, education was a major expense for overseas spending. However, with the pandemic impacting international studies, there seems to be a temporary shift in priorities. This could be due to delayed study plans or a renewed focus on travel experiences.

Convenience and Accessibility: Online travel platforms and a more comprehensive range of travel options have made planning international trips more accessible and affordable. This increased accessibility fosters a culture of exploration.

Growing Global Citizenship: Indians are increasingly connected to the world. Globalization and the rise of digital communication create a desire to experience different cultures firsthand, leading to increased travel expenditure.

This trend aligns perfectly with the global travel boom we’re witnessing. After being cooped up for so long, people worldwide are eager to explore, experience new cultures, and create memories. And with rising disposable incomes in India, that dream vacation is becoming a reality for many. While travel spending has surged, there’s a different story with education expenditure.

Education Spending Abroad Takes a Backseat

During the pandemic (FY21), education remittances peaked at 30%, likely due to fewer travel opportunities. However, this share dipped to 26% in FY22 as travel restrictions eased. This decline continued with a drop in absolute spending on education. In FY23, education spending fell to $3.4 billion from $5.2 billion the previous year, bringing its share of overall expenditure down to 12%. Interestingly, despite the travel boom in FY24, education spending remained relatively flat at nearly $3.5 billion.

Is Overseas Travel Here to Stay?

Is this a temporary trend, a celebration of regained freedom, or a sign of things to come? The report suggests that education spending might reoccur in the coming years, potentially reclaiming its spot as the second-largest expense category. After all, India boasts a young and ambitious population with a strong focus on academic pursuits.

But let’s not forget the potential impact on the Indian economy. While increased spending abroad boosts foreign economies, it also allows the Indian travel and tourism industry to capitalize on this trend.

A Glimpse into the Future

What does this record-breaking overseas spending signify? It’s a testament to India’s economic resilience. The ability to spend such a significant amount on travel indicates a healthy financial situation for many Indians. 

Whether travel continues to reign supreme or education reclaims its position, one thing is sure: Indians are venturing out, exploring new horizons, and making their mark on the global travel map. 


  1. Why are Indians spending more overseas?

    Rising incomes, easier travel due to globalization, a desire for foreign goods and experiences, and a stronger rupee are fueling Indians' surge in overseas spending. 

  2. What are Indians spending money on abroad?

    Top categories include travel (flights, stays, sightseeing), education (tuition, living expenses for students abroad), healthcare (medical tourism), luxury goods (watches, jewelry), and online shopping.

  3. What's the future outlook for overseas spending by Indians?

    With India's economic growth, disposable incomes are likely to rise further, potentially leading to continued growth in overseas spending by Indians.

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I’m Archana R. Chettiar, an experienced content creator with
an affinity for writing on personal finance and other financial content. I
love to write on equity investing, retirement, managing money, and more.

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