In an age of offshoring, the U.S. and Europe remain the most popular international business travel destinations from Kerala. According to a survey conducted among IT firms in Thiruvananthapuram for the year 2019, the U.S., Canada, and Latin America are the major overseas business travel destinations of techies, with as many as 5,695 trips carried out by them to various destinations in those countries. This is followed by the U.K. and Europe.
V. Sreekumar, secretary, Group of Technologies Companies (G-Tech), who led a session on the rising knowledge economy in the recently held summit of airlines in Thiruvananthapuram, said that among the international trips by techies, the U.S. and Europe account for the bulk of the business trips from Kerala, followed by West Asian countries, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
According to the domestic business travel destinations report, which provides a snapshot of travel flows within the country, South Indian cities Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad account for around half of the total domestic business trips by the techies from Kerala, followed by North India (Noida, Delhi, Gurgaon, Punjab, U.P. etc.), West India (Goa, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan etc.) and East India (West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Assam etc.)
Though the survey was based on IT firms in Thiruvananthapuram, the travel trend is almost similar in Kochi as well, said Mr. Sreekumar.
The IT firms, with a cumulative export revenue of ₹9,300 crore in 2022, have together spent a sum of ₹8,80,00,000 for air travel during 2019. “After the COVID-19 pandemic, business travel of techies nosedived. However, we are hopeful of this bouncing back to normal by the end of this year, considering the current pace of growth,” said Mr. Sreekumar.
When the IT business started in Thiruvananthapuram back in 1994, there were only two companies, employing 155 employees, which had then clocked an annual export revenue of ₹50 lakh. Now, the capital alone accommodates 465 IT companies providing employment to 64,000 techies with annual export revenue of ₹9,300 crore.
Further, private IT parks such as TCS Aerospace hub are expected to provide around 5,000 IT professionals soon, and Embassy Taurus Down Town about 25,000 IT professionals, with the commissioning of the first phase.
The Phase IV development of Technopark is also expected to drive the IT business travel from Kerala in a big way in the coming years.