While the size of the domestic tourism market in the country is almost two and a half times that of the foreign tourism, a very large part of this is still not available for the hotel industry.
According to a National Council of Applied Economic Research study done for the ministry of tourism, under a seventh of the total domestic tourism is for business travel or holidays, and close to 60 per cent is for social purposes like weddings and family functions.
Presumably, travellers for social functions stay with relatives and friends. Another seventh of travel is for religious purposes, and around 70 per cent of all travel is done by bus.
The size of the domestic tourism industry in 2002 was roughly Rs 34,000 crore (Rs 340 billion) including around Rs 2,000 crore (Rs 20 billion) for travellers who came back home the same day, spending around Rs 89 per trip.
Just 45 per cent of all Indian households travel according to the NCAER study, and the figure is even lower for urban areas where under 40 per cent of people travel.
While there are 22 million tourist families in urban India (of the total of 55 million families), there are around 65 in rural India. The average number of trips made in a year is around 2.64, taking the total number of domestic tourists to 550 million.
The average expenditure in each trip is Rs 1,389 -- this is Rs 2,043 for urban families and Rs 1,160 for rural families.
Expenses on package tours are slightly higher, at Rs 1,558, but just 4 million Indians went on package trips in 2002 -- indeed, half these tours were also for religious and pilgrimage purposes.
While the average income of all tourist households was Rs 64,199 per annum, it was Rs 89,191 for urban ones and Rs 55,780 for rural ones.
While Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu have the highest number of tourist-households, Delhi has the highest per capita incidence of tourist households.Delhi is followed by Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Karnakata and then Uttar Pradesh.