California Eyes India for Tourism Growth
California commands 27.5% of the market share from the Indian outbound travel market to the U.S., accounting for 319,000 visitors who spent $706 million in 2016 in the Golden State.
LED BY Caroline Beteta, Visit California, President & CEO, a delegation of 11 CEOs embarked on the first-ever California tourism CEO mission to India this year. The mission began in Mumbai with meetings and events with key tourism and film industry officials. The CEOs made invaluable relationships and build excitement around the Golden State’s commitment to the Indian market.
The delegation illustrates the excitement surrounding the growth of outbound travel in the market and reflects the diversity of California experiences – from world-class cities, to breathtaking coastline, to world-renowned wine country, to luxurious destinations and accommodations.
“We are very excited for the opportunity that the India market presents for travel to California and see this mission as an important step in introducing California to Indian travelers,” said Caroline Beteta, Visit California President & CEO. “This visit has provided critical learnings on how we can best prepare our state to welcome Indian visitors as the market continues to grow.”
Market education is the primary goal of this mission. Leisure travel from India to California is forecasted to grow by double-digits for the foreseeable future, and California’s tourism industry is intent on better understanding the Indian travel and consumer landscapes.
California commands 27.5% of the market share from the Indian outbound travel market to the U.S., accounting for 319,000 visitors who spent $706 million in 2016 in the Golden State. Forecasts show visitation growing by 41 percent in the next five years, reaching 449,000 visitors and more than $1 billion in spending by 2021 – growth on par with that of China over the last few years.
Visit California opened an India office in 2010 and has invested more than $3 million in the years since, focusing on educational travel trade and public relations activities. In the 2017/2018 fiscal year, Visit California increased its $500,000 investment to $800,000, with new tactics to reach the consumer directly through social media and a Brand USA media co-op.
Visit California has also formalized 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 to increase the understanding of each other’s film production markets, promote tourism from India and increase mutual cultural understanding.
“We are thrilled to bring this CEO mission to India, the first of its kind for our statewide industry,” said Beteta. “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 travelers to visit California and dream big with us.”
Visit California is a nonprofit organization with a mission to develop and maintain marketing programs – in partnership with the state’s travel industry – that keep California top-of-mind as a premier travel destination. According to Visit California, spending by travelers totaled $126.3 billion in 2016 in California, generating 1.1 million jobs in the state and $10.3 billion in state and local tax revenues.
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