The lure of seeing top cricketing nations on the field during the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup proved to be a powerful motivator, triggering a travel boom in India. The impact of major sporting and cultural events on travel demand is a global phenomenon, witnessed earlier this year in the record turnout for the UEFA Final in Istanbul, or the remarkable surge in room rates for Taylor Swift tours. The return of the World Cup Cricket event to India after 12 years saw a similar surge as international travelers flocked to the country during the 46-day period.
Spanning more than a month in India, the World Cup period saw a substantial surge in international travelers from both participating and non-participating nations, with airfares to top venues like Ahmedabad (50-60 percent), Mumbai (40-50 percent), and Kolkata (30-40 percent) witnessing a major surge in prices. Per Skyscanner’s Travel in Focus Report, 75 percent of respondents were willing to increase their travel budget to experience live cricket matches.
With the timeline of the World Cup falling close to Diwali, one of India’s most celebrated festivals which also witnesses high interest from foreign tourists, data from Visa finds that international visitors didn't limit their journey to just match venues, extending their travel plans to include destinations like Jaipur, Agra, Goa, Varanasi, and Udaipur. Among the participating nations in the World Cup, England, Australia, South Africa, and Bangladesh contributed most to the spends during WC matches in India. Clothing and accessories, restaurants, and retail goods stood out as leading merchant categories experiencing significant increases in cross-border expenditures.
Visa, a trusted leader in digital payments, has unwrapped an overview of payment trends observed during this ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023. As per Visa’s data, there has been a 12.5 percent growth in contactless cross border transactions during the World Cup as compared to July 2023, before the festive season began. 36 percent of the cross-border transactions in India were contactless, 2X of the total domestic contactless transactions. Further, according to Visa, the average stay of the international audience during the world cup was 11 days whereas visitors from New Zealand stayed longer.
Sushmit Nath, head of visa consulting & analytics - India and South Asia said "The high voltage Men’s Cricket World Cup, an ongoing festive season and Diwali have led to a spike in international travel to India, consequently having a positive effect on international as well as domestic consumer spends. This impact is clearly demonstrated through Visa's insightful data analysis and payment trends seen in this period. The World Cup reaffirms cricket as a defining cultural moment for the country and for international visitors and tourists. Our data has helped observe this phenomenon at close quarters and we intend to continue offering such insights into the dynamic consumer and payments landscape."