India Ranks Third for Overseas Travellers to Georgia
Explore a destination like a local feels Tracy Vaughan, Director, Business Development and International Accounts, Georgia Department of Economic Development, as more travellers explore beyond the gateway and discover the diversity of the state.
TRACY VAUGHAN joined the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD), tourism division in August 2014 and in her leadership role, she has been developing and implementing Georgia’s global tourism sales and marketing plan.
Despite her extensive travels to the five continents – building a network of industry colleagues that she is now introducing to Georgia tourism – Vaughan has quickly adopted Atlanta as her new home, becoming one of the city’s biggest boosters. An avid cyclist and runner, she loves to indulge in activities that allow her to explore Atlanta and embrace the city’s many charms.
In her recent visit to India to promote Georgia as a destination, Vaughan reveals, “India is a top feeder market, ranking #3 for overseas travellers to Georgia. While in 2016 estimated arrivals of Indians to the state reached 65000, a 14 per cent increase YOY, we are expecting to level off this year after double digit growth in the past two years. We know that many Indians travel to the state for business and visiting friend/relatives, but that often leads to return trips with a leisure focus.”
Therefore, Georgia Department of Economic Development works with Brand USA to help build Georgia’s brand in key markets within India. “We attend their annual mission where we have the opportunity to meet key buyers and work closely with Tours Limited, a receptive operator based in Atlanta, who is actively promoting their Georgia itineraries to the Indian market,” says Vaughan who also tells us about the soon-to-be-announced Indian FAM later this year in conjunction with Turkish Airlines.
However, the biggest challenge for the India travellers is the flight service. “We have excellent connectivity with Delta Air Lines through Europe, Turkish Airlines through Turkey and Qatar Airlines through the Middle East, but we are keen to have non-stop service in the near future.”
Elaborating on the facts that make Georgia a special destination is its diversity and southern hospitality that appeals to overseas travellers. A bustling and thriving city - Atlanta - considered the capital of the New South, an Olympic city and the Gateway to the south. The museums, shopping and theatres are world-class. Just a short drive from Atlanta, travellers will discover the Appalachian Mountains where the rich soil has given birth to vineyards and wineries rivalling the best in America. Four hours east and you’ll find the beautiful and protected coastline with brilliant white sandy beaches, salt marshes and Spanish moss. Rich in history, the oldest city Savannah, America’s first planned city, is a walking city where historic preservation is a priority.
Atlanta is home to the 4th largest convention centre in the USA. All the major chain hotels are here, just blocks from the convention centre. In Metro Atlanta, there are over 94,000 rooms, with over 16,000 in downtown and proximity of the convention centre. The main attractions – World of Coca-Cola, Georgia Aquarium and Inside CNN are located in Centennial Olympic Park also located in downtown. Atlanta has a great nightlife scene with many options for dining and music venues.
Vaughan sees more travellers wanting to explore beyond the gateway and discover the diversity of the state. “Travellers continue to look for authenticity in a destination. They wish to experience the destination like a local,” she feels.
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