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Indian Travellers Emerging as Key Market for America: Brand USA

According to Brand USA, India ranks 11th in international visitors and also represents the sixth biggest spender with $13.6 billion registered last year

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Sean Donohue, CEO, Dallas Fort Worth Airport Richard Fain, Chairman & CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Christopher L Thompson, President & CEO, Brand USA. Wikimedia
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Sep 17, 2017: The Indian outbound traveller is now a much-coveted commodity around the world, as the country’s booming middle class seeks new destinations and emerges as a key market.

The Indian market has set a new record as 1.17 million tourists visited the US last year, according to Brand USA, the nation’s first public-private partnership to promote the United States as a travel destination.

“Brand USA has reached the million visitor mark from India, we expect much more growth. This year has seen our largest delegation of our Brand USA India mission with nearly 40 organisations, we actually had a waiting list of people wanting to tap the indian market. And that really shows the importance that India has,” Suzana Shepard, Manager Global Trade Development Brand USA, said during a branding event organized by Brand USA representative Sartha Global Marketing in New Delhi.

In February, Brand USA inaugurated the US-India travel and tourism partnership year in Delhi, led by the US Department of Commerce’s National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO). The NTTO had forecast a 72 per cent increase in arrivals from 2015 through 2021.

While business travelers and family visits have been the norm so far, more Indians travel to less visited states and try new activities involving adventure and thrills.

“Indians are big consumers of adventure activities and this is exactly what we got in Nevada for them. The US is very much a road trip destination and there is so much to see, different landscapes, just like in India I guess but with a different decor, different people and a great melting pot of cultures,” said Claudia Vecchio, Director of the Department of Tourism & Cultural Affairs in Nevada.

According to Brand USA, India ranks 11th in international visitors and also represents the sixth biggest spender with $13.6 billion registered last year.

“There is really a great opportunity, only one per cent of the population has a passport and there is a growing middle class. It leaves room for a lot development,” Shepard said.

The increasing number of direct flights from India by national carrier Air India has also helped in catering to the tourists’ demand, the latest being Delhi-Washington DC. A couple of years ago, Air India also added San Francisco to its other non-stop flights to New York, Chicago and Newark. The carrier is said to be evaluating a direct flight to Los Angeles as well.

“With the non-stop service from India, San Francisco Airport has seen the traffic back and forth to India grow by 10 per cent, said Melissa Andretta, Director of International Marketing at San Francisco International Airport.

“The United States has always been a prime destination for Indian tourists, the country being home to an important Indian diaspora. We are seeing a lot of FITs coming, a lot of Indian weddings celebrated in Washington DC where an important Indian origin population lives. You can even celebrate Indian festivals like Diwali just like you would do in India as the city organises special decorations and festivities,” said Yi Lu, International Sales Manager at Destination DC.

On the recent visa restrictions on Indian travellers to the USA, Shepard said that they had no impact on the tourism to India and that Indians are warmly welcomed by many Americans. (IANS)

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Apple Bullish on Indian Market With $61.1bn in Revenue

The iPhone maker reported $13 billion in revenue from Greater China

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Apple has invested in Siri and HomeKit to compete with Google Home and Alexa-based smart home systems. Pixabay

As Apple posted a healthy revenue of $61.1 billion for its fiscal 2018 second quarter — defying global reports of a weakened demand for its iPhones — the company’s CEO Tim Cook said he will now put great energy into the growing Indian market.

During the company’s earnings call with media late Tuesday, Cook said: “Let me start with India, and then I’ll talk more about China. India, we set a new first-half record. So we continue to put great energy there… Our objective over time is to go in there with all of our different initiatives from retail and everything else.

“And so we’re working toward those things. It’s a huge market and it’s clear that many people will be moving into the middle class over time, as we’ve seen in other countries.”

The quarterly revenue of $61.1 billion was an increase of 16 per cent from the year-ago quarter and international sales accounted for 65 per cent of the quarter’s revenue.

“We’re thrilled to report our best March quarter ever, with strong revenue growth in iPhone, services and wearables,” Cook said in a statement.

“Customers chose iPhone X more than any other iPhone each week in the March quarter, just as they did following its launch in the December quarter.

Tim Cook
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple

“We also grew revenue in all of our geographic segments, with over 20 per cent growth in Greater China and Japan,” he informed.

Apple also announced $100 billion in additional stock buybacks.

“Given our confidence in Apple’s future, we are very happy to announce that our Board has approved a new $100 billion share repurchase authorization and a 16 per cent increase in our quarterly dividend,” said Luca Maestri, Apple’s CFO.

The iPhone maker reported $13 billion in revenue from Greater China.

“China, I continue to believe is a phenomenal country with lots of opportunity from a market point of view, but also lots of opportunity from an app developer’s point of view,” Cook said during the earnings call.

Also Read: Apple May Ditch its Popular ‘3D Touch’ Feature in Upcoming iPhones

“We have almost two million application developers in China that are writing apps for iOS and the App Store, and they’re doing unbelievably creative work and innovative work. So we look at China holistically, not only as a market, he noted.

Apple will complete the execution of the previous $210 billion share repurchase authorisation during the third fiscal quarter.

“Our business performed extremely well during the March quarter, as we grew earnings per share by 30 per cent and generated over $15 billion in operating cash flow,” said Maestri.  (IANS)