The Growing Indian Middle Class: Attracting Indian Tourists to Japan


Two policy decisions motivated this paper. One, a Japanese Government policy to increase the number of visitors to Japan by 30 million; and the other, growing India- Japan relations where emphasizes on ‘People to People Exchange’ is increasingly gaining significance. While conducting preliminary investigation on this subject, it was realized that India’s growing middle class which is the main driver for consumption was being focused on by Japan as a single group and not being considered as segmented entities. Further, the approaches of Japanese tourist agencies towards attracting Indian tourists were similar to that of western tourists. Thus this paper first discusses the changes in decision making pattern in Indian middle class families and why the relevant target group is top 3% of the pyramid. The study then ventures, through an online questionnaire, into understanding what motivates foreign destination tourism among this 3% of Indian consumers. Compilation of data showed certain contradictions to popular beliefs. To gain clarity, the research used relevant cases from among the respondent group. The findings of this research suggests that for Japan to be the choice of destination for Indian tourists, it is critical to recognize that the needs of Indian tourists differ substantially from that of the western world, and projecting that Japan is ready to meet those needs is essential.


Indian middle class segmentation, Indian consumer’s decision making, Indian consumer’s tourism desires, Attracting Indian tourist to Japan

JEL Classification

M31, O53


School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University