India is probably one of the most significant tourism origin countries for the US with enormous growth potential, a top official has said. Indian visitors spent a record USD 13.6 billion in the US last year, positioning India on the sixth spot among the top 10 international markets for the US in terms of visitor spending. As many as 1.17 million Indians visited the US in 2016, ranking India 11th in terms of number of international visitors to the US last year, the US Department of Commerce said in its latest annual report released recently. “India’s probably one of our most significant origin countries, as it relates to the whole phenomena of visiting friends and relatives,” Brand USA president and CEO Chris Thompson told PTI, ahead of his upcoming sixth annual India Travel Trade Mission next month.
There is enormous growth potential as the US currently captures only about 5.5 per cent of the outbound Indian travel market, he said. “We have a large Indian population within the United States. We have a great relationship with India as it relates to people coming over for educational opportunities and then therefore families come over following those students. “The relationship between the two largest democracies in the world is really good one in general but certainly as it relates to travel and tourism between our two countries,” Thompson said. India had the highest increase in visitor spending, up by 14 per cent. As many as 1.17 million Indians visited the US in 2016, ranking India 11th in terms of number of international visitors to the US in 2016, he added, referring to the latest official figures released recently. Headed for India from September 10-15 on his sixth annual trade mission that would take him to Mumbai, New Delhi and Chennai, he said the main focus is to encourage Indian visitation to the US and educate the Indian travel industry on the limitless potential of the US as a travel destination. Last year’s travel trade mission attracted the largest United States delegation ever to engage with the India travel trade, he said.
Responding to a question, Thompson said there is enormous growth potential from Indian tourists coming to the US because the US currently captures only about 5.5 per cent of the outbound Indian travel market. New York, California and Hawaii are one of the top three destinations for Indian tourists. Florida, Washington and Texas are the next three, followed by New Jersey, Alaska, Virginia and Michigan, he said. The average length of stay in the US for Indian tourists in 2016 is 36.9 nights, compared to 35.3 nights in 2015, Thompson said. Thompson said he has not seen any impact on flow of tourists and visitors from India after the Trump administration took over in January. “Last year, we attracted the largest US delegation ever to engage with the travel trade in India. We are anticipating that we will have probably a record attendance this year also,” he added.