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MUMBAI: The launch of low-cost, long-haul flights by Indian airlines will boost outbound leisure travel and open a multi-billion dollar opportunity for carriers, a report released on Wednesday showed.

The analysis by aviation consultant CAPA India and online travel agent Expedia Inc comes as large budget airlines IndiGo and SpiceJet Ltd draw up plans to fly as far as Europe and the United States.

The carriers have so far focused on shorter-range destinations such as Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Only 0.3 percent of Indians currently travel abroad for a holiday every year, a fraction of the estimated 100 million who could potentially afford to do so, CAPA's analysis of household income shows. Most Indians travel for education, business or to visit friends and relatives.

Tourism spending by Indians could rise to as much as $40 billion by 2027 from about $16.4 bill ..