India says ‘I-Do’ to wedding tourism

bic event

Industry experts applaud the govt’s ‘Developing Tourism in Mission Mode’ initiative, encapsulated in the ‘I-Do’ campaign, predicting an upsurge in wedding tourism, elevating India’s global image and boosting revenue.

Janice Alyosius

The wedding service industry continues to showcase robust growth, poised to escalate significantly in the coming years, according to a report by From its valuation at US$175.46 billion in 2022, the market is projected to surge to US$196.58 billion in 2023, demonstrating a substantial compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12 per cent. Anticipating further expansion, the market has been forecasted to reach US$295.47 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 10.7 per cent. Notably, the Asia-Pacific region emerged as the largest contributor to the wedding service market in 2022, underlining its pivotal role in the industry’s landscape.

Rajeev Jain, Director, Rashi Entertainment, emphasized the country’s position as the world’s largest and rapidly growing wedding industry. With a projected size of US$50 billion, India’s wedding sector is set to surge by 30 per cent. In comparison, UK exhibits a US$30 billion size with a growth projection of 3 per cent, while China, with a US$10 billion size, is expected to grow at 12 per cent. The UAE, hosting a US$1 billion industry, is expected to witness a growth rate of 20 per cent. However, in contrast, the USA holding a US$53 billion industry is projected to experience a decline of 2 per cent.

The Ministry of Tourism (MOT) recently unveiled the ‘I-Do’ campaign. The idea is to scale tourism in India to new heights. The campaign also seeks to attract couples from around the world to celebrate their special day in India.

A key highlight of the campaign lies in its collaborative approach developed in close consultation with industry experts, associations, and seasoned wedding planners. By opening the doors to India’s captivating locales, vibrant rituals, rich gastronomy, and world-class infrastructure, the campaign has the potential to mesmerize couples globally.

Jain believes that Indian weddings are not just events, but profound experiences with a lasting impact. “This endeavour would significantly contribute to foreign revenue, benefiting the country’s economy and boosting tourism.”

He disclosed that the campaign involves proposing incentives for wedding planners, a suggestion still under consideration by the MOT. Expressing gratitude to the ministry for spearheading the campaign, Jain underscored the importance of encouraging weddings in India. He said, “Our wedding tourism proposal emphasizes advertising in global media to attract weddings to India. We recommend participating in exhibitions and conventions worldwide, accompanied by Indian wedding planning agencies, to showcase Indian weddings and generate excitement about hosting them in India. We urge the government to invite foreign wedding planners to India, allow them to explore our country and potential locations and venues. These steps outlined in the proposal are essential for the MOT to implement in promoting the same.”

Pramod Lunawat, Founder, Millennium Event, M!CE and Corporate Events, also shared his insights, “This is the first time that the MOT has decided to focus on wedding tourism. Campaigns on tourism have induced inflows of tourism into the country in huge numbers. However, this will result in getting people in bulk from various parts of the world, especially the Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), as also certain small and intimate wedding celebrants. This has put the country into focus, with its palaces, forts, beaches, cities, and various religious backdrops. I think we will have a lot of traction for this campaign in the international diaspora.”

Highlighting that the initiative adds credibility to India’s potential as a premier wedding destination, Lunawat said, “Until now, getting inbound weddings was the domain of marketing by wedding planners and event managers. It is the first time that the government has taken this initiative and understood the tourism potential of weddings. It will add a lot of credibility to the belief that India can be a great destination for weddings. Also, it will take India to places where wedding planners could not have reached by word of mouth. This campaign, if backed by a lot of funding at exhibitions and roadshows by MOT, it will add to its appeal. This is going to be a gamechanger. I am hoping for it to continue as marketing is not a one-time effort, it is a continuous, credible and sustainable process.”

Lauding the Indian government for showcasing real weddings on its social media pages and in international ad campaigns, Lunawat said it is to provide potential customers with a glimpse of what their weddings could look like in India. He also highlighted the warm hospitality offered by Indian hotels, particularly those belonging to hotel chains in India that view weddings as a lucrative business prospect.

Sumit Garg, President, EEMA, and Co-founder and Managing Director, E-Factor Experiences, expressed his views on the collaborative campaign between the Event & Entertainment Management Association of India (EEMA) and Deloitte, emphasizing its strategic and innovative approach to boost the wedding tourism industry in India.

He emphasized that by positioning India as a wedding destination, the campaign effectively taps into the country’s rich cultural heritage, diverse landscapes, and traditional ceremonies, making it appealing to foreign couples seeking unique and exotic wedding experiences. He mentioned, “The campaign’s concept of making India the protagonist, saying ‘I do,’ is both creative and compelling.”

He pointed out that the attention from the MOT adds credibility, encouraging more couples worldwide to consider India for their weddings. He said, “This campaign serves as a powerful marketing tool to showcase India’s potential as a wedding tourism destination.”

In terms of the impact on Indian businesses and promotions, Garg highlighted the potential for increased revenue across various sectors, including hotels, event management companies, local artisans, caterers, and transportation services. “Internationally acclaimed campaigns like this elevate India’s image as a top-notch wedding destination,” he shared.

Discussing specific strategies and promotional activities, Garg outlined the importance of engaging content, targeted social media campaigns, partnerships, and collaborations with wedding planners, influencers, and travel agencies. He also suggested, “To ease the process for foreign couples, streamlined visa processes and comprehensive logistics support can be offered.”

Prerana Agarwal Saxena, Lead, EEMA Wedding Council, shed light on the paradox of India being frequently associated with grand weddings, but not ranking among the top 10 wedding destinations globally. Saxena said, “When we talk about big fat weddings, India is frequently mentioned. However, unfortunately, India still does not rank in the top 10 destinations.” She expressed concern about the significant revenue loss incurred due to not attracting weddings in India. Saxena highlighted the potential of leveraging the appeal of Indian weddings as a means for Brand India to gain attention. To address this issue, EEMA initiated discussions with Arvind Singh, former Secretary, MOT, presenting an overview of the wedding industry. Saxena emphasized that the growing trend of more weddings taking place abroad compared to those being hosted in India, resulting in substantial revenue loss. EEMA collaborated with MOT to develop a comprehensive 10-point strategy for wedding tourism. Saxena explained, “We propose conducting roadshows in different countries as part of this strategy with provision of special immigration counters for inbound weddings and opening up heritage sites for wedding ceremonies.” Emphasising on digital marketing, Saxena said, “This campaign requires promotion on social media and invitations to top international wedding planners to showcase and experience the offerings of our wedding tourism destinations.” A holistic approach is also required to make this campaign a successful strategy and make foreign capital say, ‘I-do’ to the Indian market.

“With a projected size of US$50 billion, the country’s wedding sector is all set to surge by 30%.”

Rajeev Jain, Director Rashi Entertainment

“This campaign, if backed by a lot of funding at exhibitions and roadshows by MOT, will add to its appeal.”

Pramod Lunawat, Founder, Millennium Even

“To ease the process for foreign couples, streamlined visa processes and comprehensive logistics support can be offered.”

Sumit Garg, President, EEMA and Co-founder and Managing Director, E-Factor Experiences

“This campaign requires promotion on social media and invitations to top international wedding planners.”

Prerana Agarwal Saxena, Lead, EEMA Wedding Council

Ministry of Tourism driving spotlight on key destinations with weddings