Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Luxe Travel Special: Maldives is passe, give them the Olympics

India's HNI tourists have started becoming picky. The Maldives, Bangkok and even the Swiss Alps are now passe. They crave experiences and the best in luxury. This edition of Forbes India shines a light on some of the biggest international sporting events coming up this year, and the Indian tourists making their way there for curated luxe experiences

Brian Carvalho
Published: Jun 10, 2024 10:33:49 AM IST
Updated: Jun 13, 2024 03:21:29 PM IST

Luxe Travel Special: Maldives is passe, give them the Olympics
 
Recently, a tweet on X based on a 1979 newspaper classified ad that congratulated an Indian travelling abroad went viral. The entrepreneur had embarked on a business trip to the United Kingdom, West Germany and Switzerland, among other European destinations.

It wasn’t uncommon in the decades before economic liberalisation to spot such ads in the broadsheets of that era—with a passport-size photo of the eager tripper in his or her full sartorial splendour. After all, it wasn’t every other day that Indians could travel abroad. Only the superrich (mostly inheritors of old money), top ministers and bureaucrats and those in the euphemistically dubbed ‘import-export business’ (read smuggling) crossed the border at a time when foreign exchange was scarce.

Post 1991, economic reforms ensured easier travel out of the country. Indian holidaymakers came back with photos shot on Pentax Zoom auto-focus cameras, posing in front of the Eiffel Tower, the Niagara Falls and even the Bernese Highlands where Raj and Simran of DDLJ fame gambolled and fell in love.

As wealth and income grows over the decades—at least at the top end of the pyramid—India’s high net worth tourists have started becoming picky. The Maldives, Bangkok and even the Swiss Alps are now passe for this elite bunch. Travel is now to less-predictable havens from Svalbard to Fiji to Saint Lucia. They crave experiences and the best in luxury—no hotel rooms but exclusive villas and pools and personal butlers will do just fine.

Along with this propensity for big spending, the high-end Indian tourist is also travelling with a few very specific objectives in mind. One of them is sporting events.

This edition of Forbes India shines a light on some of the biggest international sporting events lined up over the next couple of months. And yes, Indians will be making themselves visible in droves, starting with the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, and moving on to Euro 2024, Wimbledon 2024, and the Paris 2024 Olympics. Of course, there are the annual events like the Formula 1 Grand Prix roadshow that moves from exotic locales like Imola, Italy, to Baku, Azerbaijan; and the recently concluded football leagues in Europe that attract Indian tourists for most of the year.

As Forbes India’s contributing and roving writer Anoothi Vishal writes, global ultra-luxury hotels, top restaurants and boutique concierge services are going all out to cater to this upsurge in the number of Indians at big-ticket sporting events. For more on how more and more Indians are planning trips around sporting events and throwing in meals at Michelin-starred restaurants and a drop-in to, say, the annual Chelsea Flower Show, turn to ‘Jet, Set, Go’ on page 50. Don’t also miss our other stories in the package on high-end sports tourism—from India’s under-tapped potential in sports tourism to the well-heeled travelling to luxurious hotspots to improve their golf swing and work on their tennis volley.

On the cover of Forbes India this fortnight is a man who has been on a long trip of a slightly different kind—since the early 2000s, when he got acquainted with the-then perceptibly esoteric data centre.

After garnering close to two decades of experience in the business of storing gigatonnes of data, and operating 19 third-party data centres, Sunil Gupta co-founded Yotta Data Services in 2019. Suddenly, the pioneer sees himself hemmed in by India’s biggest conglomerates and the world’s largest tech multinationals, all investing top dollar in data storage. For more on Gupta’s vision for Yotta and his audacious gambit of spending $1 billion to procure Nvidia’s most powerful semiconductor chips, Naandika Tripathi’s ‘In Data Centres We Trust’ is a must read.
 

Best,
Brian Carvalho
Editor, Forbes India
Email: Brian.Carvalho@nw18.com
Twitter ID: @Brianc_Ed

(This story appears in the 14 June, 2024 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)