Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

From the finest of luxury tourism to Apple's AI conundrum, here are our most-read stories of the week

Be it travelling for holistic health or attending a sporting event, Indian HNIs and UHNIs are changing the definition of luxe tourism. Forbes India brings you a 360-degree view of this trend. Plus, with ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024, how cricket is finding its footing in the US

Published: Jun 15, 2024 10:00:00 AM IST
Updated: Jun 14, 2024 05:16:00 PM IST

Image: ShutterstockImage: Shutterstock

1) Rolling out the red carpet

Forbes India's latest issue is all about how India's luxe travel has gained a new definition. High net-worth individuals (HNIs) and ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNIs) from India are looking for unique experiences without checking in with their bank accounts first. Their spending on leisure tourism has increased, outpacing traditional frontrunners from relatively stagnant or stalling economies in Asia and Europe. This tribe is taking on the world with renewed gusto after the pandemic, and sports tourism is a preferred escapade. Global ultra-luxury hotels, Michelin-star restaurants, and boutique concierge services are rolling out the red carpet to host these well-heeled customers. From Wimbledon's iconic Centre Court to yacht seats for the Monaco Grand Prix, you will find desis having the time of their life. Here's a detailed overview.

2) Need for upgrade

Indians are passionate about playing and supporting sports. We have started cheering for athletes who bring medals from the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics or win top spots at the World Championships. Stadiums see footfall when Indian hockey and football teams walk out on the turf. Cricket is a religion. But Indian fans don't get to immerse themselves in the historical nostalgia of these sports beyond the watercooler discussion, TV debates, and the social media community. These ardent fans are left with nothing but hollow promises, mad scrambles for tickets, and sorry facilities. No wonder a fan looking to nurture the passion steps out and seeks these experiences in foreign lands—be it guided tours of legendary Lord's in London or the Old Trafford in Manchester. Fans are here and willing to pay; are the Indian authorities ready to make the most of it?

3) Big bucks for better mind and body

It's been some time since one of the Rs in R&R was replaced with Rejuvenation. Indian Millennials are looking to recover from burnout, and a young generation of travellers—read GenZ—is not waiting for one and is proactively pursuing self-care. They are seeking the best wellness facilities in the world to keep their bodies younger and minds sharp and balanced. According to Mordor Intelligence, the India wellness tourism market size is estimated at $19.43 billion in 2024 and is expected to reach $26.55 billion by 2029, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.45 percent between 2024 and 2029. Let's explore what the uber-rich are doing and where they are going to achieve holistic health goals.


1) Marriott's money-can't-buy experiences

Well, not technically. Usually, the money-can't-buy experiences have a challenging route and dramatic conclusions with life lessons packed in. People have won Nobel Prizes and Pulitzers for describing those. However, some experiences are somewhat within your reach, but they appear as if you need to make an extra push with your money to get closer. In this case, it is raking in points for Marriott International's loyalty programme, Marriott Bonvoy. In 2024, they are celebrating the programme's fifth anniversary and have planned exclusive access to some of the most coveted properties and people to their loyal, luxury customers. Want to hang out with Lewis Hamilton in the F1 paddock? Dance to Taylor Swift's music at the Eras Tour concert? You have a chance. Rajeev Menon, president, Marriott International for APEC, explains how.

2) Citius, Altius, Fortius, but make it luxury

A recent World Economic Forum study observes that the industry will soon surpass the levels seen before the pandemic. And sports tourism appears to be playing a big part in this spurt. But what if travelling in the name of sports goes beyond being a mere spectator or watching the action up and close? What if the desire is to at least level up? It may not be about finding a coaching institute and devoting hours on days to be an athlete—what if one just has the desire to perfect the swing on the golf course, better the serve on the paddle court, work on volleys on the tennis court, or even improve footwork just to win the box cricket match with friends? Here, we present some of the finest options to consider if recreation with upskilling is the goal of your vacation.

3) Apple's AI conundrum

Apple’s annual developer jamboree, the Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), is a highly anticipated event for techies, press, shareholders, and Apple fans. This year, everyone hoped to hear something about the tech giant's foray into the world of artificial intelligence—the last one to step into the arena where Google, Meta, and Microsoft are already making headway. At the event, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced a partnership with OpenAI to bring ChatGPT to the iPhone, iPad and MacBooks. The tie-up evoked strident criticism from Elon Musk, the world's richest person, in particular regarding data privacy. In the latest episode of One Thing Today in Tech podcast, Jaspreet Bindra, an independent AI and ethics researcher and former chief digital officer of the Mahindra Group, and Dipanjan Chatterjee, VP and principal analyst at Forrester Research, unpacked the significance of this deal.

4) Cricket in Baseball Country

The unbelievable has come to pass—India and the US clashing for the Super 8 spot in the first-ever international game between the two at the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024 in Nassau County Stadium, New York. The hosts didn't pull off an upset, but the courage of US batters to make a match of it has left fans with mixed emotions—what with eight of the US squad having an Indian connection. The Gentlemen's Game has taken root in the North American continent, as Canada is also competing. ICC is keen to find a toehold in the largest sports market in the world, the US. It is pulling out all stops to engage with the American audience, and the country with a GDP of over $25 trillion cannot ignore the profitability of this game format. Here's how cricket is growing in the land of opportunities.