Visit California is holding its first-ever California tourism CEO mission to India this month, with the tourism board expecting to see 41 per cent growth in visitors from the market in next five years.
“California already commands 27.5 per cent share of the Indian outbound market to the US, accounting for 319,000 visitors who spent US$706 million in the state. We are projecting US$1 billion in spending from the Indian market by 2021. We also expect numbers from the Indian market to grow with the recent improved airlift from India,” said Caroline Beteta, president & CEO, Visit California.
Air India commenced flights between San Francisco and New Delhi two years ago and is expected to begin direct flights to Los Angeles in 2018.
To achieve the desired results, the tourism board has increased its investment in the market from US$500,000 to US$800,000 for FY2017/18.
Betata elaborated: “We are developing and strengthening our relationship with the travel trade and adding new promotional layers targeted at consumers. We launched our Facebook page a few weeks back and have already garnered 40,000 followers.”
Visit California was recently in Mumbai, where it did its first global activation of FB Live with a few Indian celebrities and influencers present.
“Digital marketing is going to be our focus. We are working with our industry stakeholders in California to move them along in terms of how do we encourage and incentivise repeat Indian visitations,” she explained.
During the CEO mission, Visit California also signed an MoU with the Producers Guild of India, aiming to bring Indian film shootings to California.
In October, Visit California also launched the California Global Ready India series, which aims to educate travel suppliers on attracting and engaging Indian tourists, the first such undertaking in the US.
“We now see India offering more opportunities than any other market globally. Presently, 35 per cent business in San Diego is meetings and conventions but the Indian market is small. Going forward you will see much more of our promotional and investment in this marketplace to give San Diego and California much more awareness as a destination for all segments,” said Joe Terzi, president & CEO, San Diego Tourism Authority.
The tourism board is leading a delegation of 11 tourism CEOs on the mission, which began in Mumbai before moving to New Delhi.