How the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 is Scoring Big for the Indian Economy It is rightfully said, that Cricket isn't just a game, it's an emotion and a religion. In fact, Cricket has over one billion fans globally, with 90 per cent of them coming from India. And this emotion is now expected to pump in about USD2.6 billion to the Indian economy according to an estimate by economists at Bank of Baroda
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With 23 matches concluded, one underway and 21+ upcoming, the ICC World Cup 2023 is going bigger than ever. The fifty-over World Cup returns to Indian soil after 12 years, ramping up demand for match tickets and other complimentary essentials.
The international tournament, which is a 46 day affair and is set to conclude on November 19, has 10 countries fighting for the title and trophy. Cities like Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Dharamsala, Kolkata, Pune, and Hyderabad are hosting the matches.
It is rightfully said, that Cricket isn't just a game, it's an emotion and a religion. In fact, Cricket has over one billion fans globally, with 90 per cent of them coming from India. And this emotion is now expected to pump in about USD2.6 billion to the Indian economy according to an estimate by economists at Bank of Baroda.
BoB's economists, Jahnavi Prabhakar and Aditi Gupta, note that the travel and hospitality sectors will benefit the most.
Jefferies Group, an American multinational independent investment bank and financial services, in its latest report shares that the cricket festival is driving up airfares and hotel prices in the country. "We checked hotel and flight rates across the venues for matches featuring India and found average rates for the match days up by 150% for select hotels and 80% for select flights compared to the week prior to match day, with some rates up to the extent of 13 times or 5 times," the report said.
The World Cup can boost the Indian economy through ticket sales, TV rights and sponsorship, team spending, foreign and domestic tourists, event management, merchandise, spectator expenses, and screening and food delivery.
So, what is the demand for travel and tourism services in India looking like? "Ahead of the matches, we have witnessed a 46% rise in searches for travel tickets along with a 38% increase in domestic air travel booking as compared to 2022. The demand is 72% higher when compared to the same period last year. And it is not just the tickets but even the hotel fares during the match period and we have observed a 30-60% hike in the host cities for October and November months when compared to the usual fares," shares Nishant Pitti, CEO and Co-Founder, EaseMyTrip, an online travel start-up.
"Demand is very high for matches where India is playing and also for late-stage matches such as quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals. World cup matches have increased airfare by up to 30-40% on dates close to the match. In hotels, we have seen a much steeper surge. For example, India v/s Pakistan match has seen hotel prices rising by up to 10-12 times. Similar trend is there for later stage matches," adds Chirag Agrawal, Co-founder, TravClan, a B2B travel tech start-up.
Agrawal shares that a significant number of people are extending their stays or arriving a few days in advance to explore the hosting cities. "We anticipate strong demand for hotels in other parts of India through January/February 2024, as many international travelers are expected to extend their stay to discover more about India this winter," shares Aditya Sanghi, Co-founder and CEO, Hotelogix.
Hotelogix, a Hotel Property Management System start-up, has seen an increase of 25-30 % in international arrivals from September to November 2023 compared to the same time in 2022. "Demand is at an all-time high, and hotels of all categories in 10 host cities have increased their inventories and prices by up to 300% to cash in on the event,' adds Sanghi.
While it can be expensive and taxing for fans to book each and every stay, dine and match outing, some players are offering a comprehensive bouquet encompassing all the ICC necessities. "We are offering complete packages along with hospitality and standard tickets. Our offering includes match tickets, hotel, meals in certain cases and commuting to and from the hotel," shares Agrawal.
EaseMyTrip is also doing something similar in cities such as Delhi, Ahmedabad, Pune, Dharamshala, Lucknow, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bangalore. "To ensure our customers have convenient and memorable match-day experiences, we are providing them with tailor-made tour packages with palatial and comfortable accommodations," shares Pitti.
Cirium, a travel analytics firm, reported that there are 787 flights scheduled from Nov. 13 to 19 to Ahmedabad. The venue is set to host the world cup final.
Notably, according to Pitti, Kolkata takes the lead with a 104 per cent surge, followed up by Lucknow at 97 %, Delhi with 49%, and Bangalore with 46 %
Vinesh Gupta, General Manager, The Den, Bangalore feels that while the ICC will result in an increase in revenue and higher occupancy rates, the true determining factors are the geographical location of the hotel, popularity of the tournament and global, economic and environmental factors. "For instance, hotels in close vicinity to the World Cup venues observe a significant surge in their occupancy rates, room rates, increase in food and beverage sales and so on, particularly during matches in the same region," he shares.
Öz at UB City, Bangalore, a premium dine-in Turkish cuisine outlet, has seen an uptick in its footfall. "We've seen an approximate increase of 20% in our footfalls considering we're around the stadium areas in Bangalore and Chennai," shares Aasim and Adeeb Shah, Co-founders, Öz by Kebapci.
Disney+Hotstar, the official streaming partner of ICC, registered a record of 43 million concurrent viewers during the India-New Zealand match on Sunday. The previous record was held by the India-Pakistan match that saw a viewership of 3.5 million. "Cricket enjoys the status of a festival in India and fans celebrate it as if it is the biggest moment of their lives," notes Pitti.