California is betting big on Indian travellers and expects to receive 4.4 lakh visitors from the country by 2020 on the back of more outbound travel from India and better flight connectivity.
Indians are a valuable target for California’s tourism business, Alex Vigil, Manager, Europe and India Marketing, of the non-profit Visit California, told BusinessLine. “In 2015, California received 2,91,000 visitors from India, which was an 11 per cent year-on-year growth compared with 2014. We are projecting 9.4 per cent growth this year,” Vigil added.
Currently, of all Indian travellers coming to the US, California gets a 27.5 per cent market share, he stated.
Vigil is here as part of Visit California’s delegation in the fifth annual Brand USA India Mission. Brand USA is the public-private partnership set up to promote the US as a travel destination.
On the importance of the India market, Vigil said: “India is the sixth largest market in terms of spending in California. Indians spend $1,785 per trip, which makes a total of $523 million in spends by Indians in California each year. By 2020, it should reach $802 million.” China, the UK and Australia are the top overseas source markets for California.
Top activitiesIndians, apart from shopping, are focusing on the culinary scene, opting for the ‘farm to fork’ slow food movement, wine tasting and wine tours, etc in the destination.
Going forward, California expects more travellers as flight connectivity improves.
“We are at a point where we are seeing direct flights coming in. Air India’s Delhi-San Francisco started out as three times a week. In November they are increasing it to six times a week because the flight is doing so well,” Vigil added.