Marriott’s Ritz-Carlton in Jaipur. Plus: Skift India Summit Starts – India Report

The debut Skift India Summit is off and running! It’s a sign of the enormous possibilities of post-pandemic travel in a changing India.

On March 20, we are bringing together the best minds in the travel business from India and across the globe at The Leela Ambience, Gurugram, to discuss the future of travel in the country. We are focusing on three main themes: The new outbound Indian traveler; the massive potential in a market of 1.4 billion people; and the steadily growing inbound tourist market into India. We’ll have coverage throughout the day on and highlights in tomorrow’s India Report.

– Peden Doma Bhutia

Marriott International Signs First Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Jaipur

Marriott International has announced the signing of its debut Ritz-Carlton property in Jaipur, Maharashtra. The 250-key hotel is expected to open in 2028. Currently, the hospitality company operates five hotels in the city. Rajeev Menon, president, Asia Pacific excluding China at Marriott International, said that the Indian market is flourishing and its interest in luxury travel is leading to a growth in demand for global luxury brands. 

Marriott has two Ritz-Carltons in India, in Bengaluru and Pune. A third one has been signed in Shimla and is slated for a 2029 opening. Skift earlier reported that Marriott has plans to open 12 hotels in India this year. After Moxy’s debut in India earlier this year, Menon said that the company would be looking at possibilities of launching more brands in the country.

IndiGo Announces Operations in Lakshadweep

India’s largest airline IndiGo is adding Agatti in the Lakshadweep archipelago in its network. Starting March 31, the carrier will fly between Bengaluru and Agatti daily. The island group marks IndiGo’s 88th domestic destination. At present, only Alliance Air operates to the Lakshadweep archipelago. 

The move not only marks the expansion of IndiGo’s network, but also significantly impacts the aviation and tourism landscape of Lakshadweep. Earlier this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted the island group’s beauty in an effort to boost its tourism industry. The government is looking to develop a new airfield on Minicoy Island for military and commercial aircraft. Indian Hotels Company (IHCL) also has two Taj resorts coming up at the destination to enhance accommodation options for travelers. 

Indians Exploring Diverse Experiences, Spiritual Destinations For Holi, Easter Getaways

The festivals of Holi and Easter are mere days apart this year, offering Indians an opportunity to travel. Hence, they are exploring domestic as well as international destinations. According to data, travelers are looking for diverse experiences, as aside from metros, the website has seen significant uptick in searches for leisure destinations such as Udaipur, Jaipur, Goa, Lonavala, and Manali. The online travel agency also noted that spiritual destinations including Vrindavan, Rishikesh, Puri, and Varanasi were also among the most-searched destinations. 

Indians also searched international destinations for travel between March 23 and 31. Dubai was the most-searched destination, followed by SIngapore, Bangkok, Makkah in Saudi Arabia, and London. Santosh Kumar, country manager for India, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Indonesia at said that the company’s Travel Predictions 2024 research revealed that 85% of Indian travelers feel more alive when they are on vacation. 

Air India Express Summer Flights Frequency Grows 25%

Air India Express has increased its flight frequencies to navigate the anticipated surge in demand during summer. The airline is set to operate more than 360 daily flights. Its 2024 summer schedule has a 25% increase in domestic flights as compared to last year. For international flights, this increase is 20%, the airline said.

Air India Express is a subsidiary of former national carrier Air India, and it offers budget flights to travelers. The airline, which is being merged with AirAsia India (now AIX Connect), is planning to operate 40% more flights in the 2024-25 financial year. It is also expecting to complete the acquisition of 50 white tail Boeing 737 Max aircraft by the end of this year.

SpiceJet Enhances Fleet For Upcoming Peak Season

Budget carrier SpiceJet has finalized lease agreements for 10 aircraft to enhance its capacity for the summer schedule. The airline has also received three airframes as part of recent settlements with key aircraft lessors, the company said in an exchange filing last week. 

In a subsequent exchange filing, the company said that it had signed a lease agreement to introduce two wide-body A340 aircraft in its fleet. These two aircraft have been earmarked for the upcoming Haj operations, and will fly from Srinagar and Guwahati. With this move, SpiceJet is seeking to match the revenue of INR 3.37 billion ($41 million) that it generated from Haj operations last year. 

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