Building on the annual surge in the number of tourist visits from India, Visit California recently led a delegation in the country, focused on elucidating unique experiences and tourism offerings in the US state.
The chain of events organised by Visit California is the first-ever California tourism CEO mission to India. The mission began in Mumbai with meetings and events with key tourism and film industry officials, before moving to New Delhi where it concluded yesterday, with a press conference.
Throughout the week, CEOs from the travel trade in California indulged in networking sessions and building relations around the US golden state’s commitment to the Indian market.
“We are very excited for the opportunity that the India market presents for travel to California. This mission was an important step in introducing California to Indian travellers. We have our most senior tourism leaders with us to learn more about the market so we can refine our short and long-term strategies, develop mutually beneficial partnerships and understand how to better inspire Indian travellers to visit California and dream big with us,” said Caroline Beteta, President & CEO, Visit California.
California witnessed a growth in outbound travellers and the leisure travellers from India to California are forecasted to grow by double-digits in the near future. The growth is reflected by the ever-increasing demand, thanks to the world-class cities, breathtaking coastline, world-renowned wine destinations, luxurious venues and accommodations in California.
The state currently holds 27.5 pc of the market share from Indian outbound travel market to the US, accounting for 319,000 visitors who spent USD 706 million in 2016 in the state. According to forecasts, this visitation will grow by 41 pc in the next five years, reaching 449,000 visitors and more than USD 1 billion in spending by 2021.
“Indians appreciate the natural beauty in California’s Napa Valley the most. I think we can do really well with Indian travellers. We also have Indian travellers who come from the Silicon Valley because there is such big population of Indians there. Amongst our most famous are the vineyards and most of them now have blending seminars – where each person gets their own samples and they can make their blends. It is fun because then everybody gets to taste each other’s blend and the vinery then packs it for the guests to take it back as souvenirs or let other people taste it,” Clay Gregory, President & CEO, Visit Napa Valley, told MIG.
During the fiscal year 2017-2018, Visit California increased its investment to USD 800,000 from USD 500,000, with new tactics to reach the consumer directly through social media and a Brand USA media co-op.
Visit California also formalised an MOU with the Producers Guild of India during the mission. As two major hubs of entertainment production, Visit California and the Producers Guild of India see this co-operative agreement as one, which can further increase the understanding of each other’s film production markets, promote tourism from India and increase mutual cultural understanding.