The Indian tourists visiting the US will cross the one million mark for the first time this year
The Indian tourists visiting the US will cross the one million mark for the first time this year, a public-private tourism organisation has said hoping the visit of President Barack Obama to India later this month will increase the inflow of tourists in coming years.
Christopher L Thompson, president and CEO of ‘Brand USA’, said, “We view India as top five emerging markets as a potential to hit the goal of having 100 million international travellers by 2021. The presidential visit to India later this month, would give a big boost to Brand USA and help in increasing the number of Indian travellers to the US.”
‘Brand USA’ is the public-private partnership responsible for launching America’s first-ever nationally coordinated tourism marketing effort. In 2014, nearly 9,00,000 Indian tourists travelled to the US which he estimated would easily cross the million mark in 2015 and by 2021, the US hopes to have more than 1.5 million visitors from India every year.
“On an average international travellers spend USD 4,500 per visit but Indians spend more between US$5,000 to US$6,000 per visitors. It could be even more than that. The spending per visitor from India is higher than the average,” Thompson said, adding that Indian tourists have much greater impact on the American economy than those from other international travellers.
The top 10 travel destination for Indians are New York, California, Hawaii, Florida, Washington, Texas, New Jersey, Alaska, Virginia and Michigan. ‘Brand USA’ is now planning to promote new travel and tourist destinations for Indians. For instance the South Carolina Governor, Nikki Haley, during her recent trip to India had promoted her State as a travel and tourist destinations for Indians, he said.
According to latest available figures, Indian tourists ranked 10th in international-tourist spending in the US during 2013. This US$5.6 billion in spending by Indian tourists was an increase of 14 per cent over the previous year. A recent ‘Brand USA’ study said that outbound travellers from India are informed, sophisticated and educated and they are increasingly looking for rich, authentic experiences during their trips. Niche-travel products are gaining popularity, especially in the luxury market. Prime interests for Indian travellers include sightseeing, nightlife and entertainment, theme parks, beaches and water sports, and shopping. They also have a high demand for adventure and outdoor experiences.
Thompson said there is a huge potential for Indian travellers coming to the US. In three major emerging markets– India, China and Brazil– he said the US is taking steps to ease the visa process. “The good thing for India is that people here have got 10 years visa validity,” he said adding that visa wait period has reduced considerably now in the emerging markets.