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Tier ll and lll cities account for 60% growth in domestic travel, says Paytm report

Sandeep Soni

While metro cities have always been among the most travelled destinations for Indians domestically, its the tier-II and tier-III cities that are increasingly turning as fastest growing travel destinations. In fact, around 60 per cent of growth in terms of total passengers travelled in 2018 came from tier-II and tier-III cities, Paytm said in its travel trends report for 2018 based on bookings done through Paytm Travel.

“The total passengers travelled in 2018 was 55.3 million and 33.2 million (came) from tier-II and tier-III,” a Paytm spokesperson told Financial Express Online.

Paytm Travel competes with MakeMyTrip, Yatra, Cleartrip etc., in India’s online travel booking market that is worth $8 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow to $11.7 billion by 2023, as per market research platform Statista.

Among the fastest growing destinations nationwide included Hanumangarh (Rajasthan) and Nandyal (Andhra Pradesh) via bus; Tikamgarh (Madhya Pradesh), and Lingampally (Telangana) via train; and Hubli (Karnataka) and Tiruchirappalli (Tamil Nadu) through air.

Paytm saw 92.9 per cent of the overall bookings done through app even as the company has been looking at regional language users in tier-II and tier-III cities to drive growth ahead.

Paytm’s travel business has increased its customer base from 9 million last year to 13 million this year, Vice President and Head of Paytm Travel Abhishek Rajan had told Financial Express Online.

The maximum growth will come from regional languages hopefully going forward with Paytm s increasing penetration in tier-II and tier-III cities. The next set of users coming online are from regions where they are comfortable in their native languages. So the use of regional language will become higher than what it is today, said Rajan.

Rajan had claimed around 75 per cent growth in the use of regional languages from tier-II cities for booking travel tickets while from tier-III cities it is more than 100 per cent. The existing 13 million users are part of more than 300 million registered users that Paytm has.

India s online travel market is expected to grow to $13.6-billion size by 2021, said a report by consulting firm Praxis Global last year.

Dubai, Bangkok, and Singapore were the top three searched destinations globally by Indians in 2018, the report said.