India’s wedding tourism industry and destination weddings have been growing at an exponential rate in the last few years. The industry has seen a humongous growth of over 25% in the last few years and the industry is pegged to be worth Rs 45,000 crore by 2020.
The industry, which was pegged at a little above Rs 23,000 crore just last year, is expected to grow to over Rs 29,000 crore by this year itself, according to a research done by MRSS India.
The rise of the middle class, the NRI connect, celebrity endorsements and high degree of personalisations, are considered to be few of the reasons for the growth in the wedding tourism industry, where couples look for curated weddings to make it one of their most memorable moments in life.
Rajasthan, Goa, Kerala and, most recently Uttarakhand, have been developing as hotspots for destination weddings in India. While Rajasthan provides the ambience of a royal wedding affair, Goa specialises in thematic beach weddings. Recently, Uttarakhand has become popular among nature lovers, offering wildlife themed weddings.
Ashutosh Kapilashrami, General Manager at Indianholiday, a renowned wedding planner in Delhi-NCR, told The Sunday Guardian, “There has been a drastic increase in destination weddings over the years. Daily, we get numerous queries from clients not only in India, but also from abroad. ”
The Ministry of Tourism has realised the potential of wedding tourism in India and is working towards promoting wedding tourism in India through its various forums. According to sources in the Ministry, the Ministry will also soon come out with advertisements and publicity materials for promoting wedding tourism in India.
Speaking to The Sunday Guardian, Satyajit Rajan, Director General, Ministry of Tourism, said, “India is emerging as a wedding destination for the world, where people look for traditions as well as exotic locations from beaches to hills or the islands. Rajasthan is proving to be a most sought after wedding destination not only for Indians, but also for foreign clients because of its magnificent royalty. Already, there are a lot of tour operators who specialise in wedding tours and it is not only for the rich; even those from the middle class are opting for destination weddings. The government is working towards promoting this industry along with tour operators and travel agents.”
“Recently, we attended the biggest travel fair in Spain called the Fitur. We realised what potential India has in terms of destination weddings; even there is potential from European countries where clients are looking for a traditional exotic Indian wedding. We are going to do a lot of publicity and advertisements to capitalise on to this niche tourism market that has a wide range of opportunities,” Rajan added.
Several foreign clients are paying hefty sums to attend and be a guest at Indian weddings due to the exuberant traditions, pomp, show and culture which is unlike the weddings in Western countries.
A website, joinmywedding.com, was started by Orsi Parkanyi, a 33-year-old Australian woman, who once wanted to join in for an Indian wedding when she heard her friend was travelling to India for a wedding.
Her website facilitates couples to register themselves for inviting foreign guests to their wedding by taking a monetary charge from them and making them a part of their entire wedding ceremony, including accommodation, food, transport and other facilities.