|Indian billionaire couple Tuisha Seksaria and Gaurav Palrecha tied the knot at the Sheraton Grand Danang Resort & Convention Center in 2023. Photo: Veydaa Events |
Vietnam’s natural wonders and amazing landscapes in Halong Bay and in Danang have become a glorious backdrop for several Indian weddings since the beginning of the year.
High-end resorts and luxury cruises in the two popular destinations have carried out top-dollar contracts for Indian weddings with an average of 400-700 guests – who often stay in the country for up to a week.
“We see significant growth in the Indian market for the luxury travel industry," said David Ippersiel, general manager of Sheraton Danang.
Particularly in the last three months, Sheraton Grand Danang Resort & Convention Center has had the opportunity to welcome more than 700 Indian guests, which accounts for nearly a fifth of the total number of visitors it has served in the first months of the year.
"Almost half of these guests were from the Indian wedding group that we were honoured to host in January,” Ippersiel added.
The Indian market is a rapidly growing one for Vietnam. In 2019 alone, 30 million Indian tourists travelled abroad, and Southeast Asia is ranked one of their top destinations. With the current growth rate, Ippersiel is confident that Danang can attract more Indian visitors in the near future, especially independent travellers during the summer and festival season later in the year.
“If understood and serviced well, this will be a market that brings a lot of value to Vietnam's tourism industry,” he noted.
In Halong, a super wedding was also held in February, with the ceremony taking place at Vinpearl Resort and Spa. Accompanying the couple were more than 500 guests, all of whom flew in from India for the occasion.
|Getting outside of India and away from normalcy, friends and families revel in the special atmosphere. Photo: Veydaa Events |
Satish Ramnani, director of Veydaa Events Co., explained that destination weddings like those in Halong and Danang are popular for wealthy Indian people because they can afford to invite a very select group of close family and friends to a beautiful destination, while offering them a unique experience which is not available in India.
"Getting outside of India and away from normalcy, friends and families revel in the special atmosphere. If there is a great place with a lot to offer, somewhere new and unique, that’s where they want to go," he said.
Ramnani, who has organised close to 300 weddings in various destinations over the past 15 years, added that the numbers are only increasing. He said that there will be likely three more weddings he will bring into Vietnam towards the end of this year. Vietnam’s natural beauty, the sufficient infrastructure, economical transportation, and a wide range of hotel choices all attract wealthy Indian visitors, he added.
However, the language barrier, challenges with Indian food, problematic infrastructure, and a lack of attention to detail in regard to production could cause trouble further down the line.
“With a large wedding, there are multiple vendors and companies involved, and the language barrier has been the main challenge and concern – even when using translators," Ramnani explained.
Secondly, local companies involved need to understand and pay attention to details such as different fabrics, decor, and taste.
"There are few production companies and I find them very expensive compared with those in India. If I'm making a costly structure, the idea is to reuse it multiple times. So, there has to be more organisational know-how and better inventory. Production is one of the key areas that requires a huge chunk of the overall budget, so that is something local companies and vendors have to really work hard on to tap this market,” Ramnani said.
To gain more Indian tourists in Vietnam, Ippersiel suggested a collaboration with the government and other stakeholders.
"We will need to organise more in-depth cultural activities and festivals, as well as restore facilities and improve services at existing historical and spiritual sites. We will also need to cooperate with travel agents specialising in luxury tours from India in order to design more customised trips," he said.
|"We will need to organise more in-depth cultural activities and festivals, as well as restore facilities and improve services at existing historical and spiritual sites," said David Ippersiel, general manager of Sheraton Danang. |
"Resorts must also develop high-end spa, butler, and food services to better cater to the personalised tastes of Indian guests," he added.
To obtain an e-visa to enter Vietnam, Ramnani said Indian tourists currently have to wait a few working days.
"I would encourage Vietnam to provide visa-on-arrival for Indian tourists, like Thailand and Cambodia do. It would really help Vietnam to boost its traffic," he said.
India's phenomenal rise has created both millionaires and billionaires. According to the International Monetary Fund, India’s GDP grew by 6.8 per cent last year and the South Asian country has overtaken the UK to become the world’s fifth-biggest economy.
According to the Indian Business Chamber in Vietnam, on average, each Indian visitor spends about $1,200 per trip, which is higher than British and Americans at $500-$700. Indian tourists also spend four times more than those from China and Japan.
They have a habit of staying at tourist destinations for a long time, generally around 12-15 days. Indian weddings normally span 10-15 days, and they frequently celebrate for a further 3-5 days in the country. During this time, families and guests for a wedding could book out an entire 5-star resort for the celebration.
Before 2020's restrictions, enormous Indian weddings started making waves at Vietnam’s most luxurious destinations. For example, in March 2019, the extravagant wedding ceremony in Phu Quoc between Kaabia Grewal, co-founder of a luxury fashion jewellery line, and Rushang Shah, son of the founder of US-based Embassy National Bank, was covered intensively by the Vietnamese media.
| ||Attracting Indian tourists |
The number of Indian tourists to Vietnam saw impressive growth in 2022, and it is expected to accelerate further.
| ||Common trade goals pulling India and Vietnam closer |
Advantages under the regional trade agreements between ASEAN and India could be a key driver of an increase in both countries’ trade turnover, and in Indian investment into the Southeast Asian market.
| ||Vietnam Airlines to increase Vietnam-India flights by 30 per cent |
Vietnam Airlines will operate one flight per day between Vietnam and India from March 26, raising the number of its flights between the two countries by 30 per cent compared to the present.
| ||Sheraton Grand Danang Resort & Convention Center hosts Indian billionaire wedding |
In January 2023, Indian billionaire couple Tuisha Seksaria and Gaurav Palrecha tied the knot in a series of beautiful Indian wedding ceremonies held at the BRG Group-owned Sheraton Grand Danang Resort & Convention Center. The event was a five-day gathering for family and friends flying in from India, with over 350 guests in attendance.