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Brand USA celebrates year of tourism between US and India

Brand USA celebrates year of tourism between US and India

Brand USA – the destination-marketing organization for the United States – partnered with Air India to host its first-ever, large-scale, multi-itinerary US familiarization trip, or MegaFam, for 24 tour operators from India.

The MegaFam, which ran from October 4-12, allowed each of the tour operators to travel in groups of 8 along one of 3 concurrent US itineraries. One group visited Washington, DC, and Northern Virginia.

Another group, which arrived in Chicago, visited that city before heading to Milwaukee. A third group flew into San Francisco and then traveled to the California towns of Monterey, Carmel, Paso Robles, and Santa Barbara.

All of the MegaFam participants, after completing their group trips, then assembled in Los Angeles, where they shared their impressions and experiences about the destinations they had just visited. From Los Angeles, they went to San Francisco for a day before returning to India.

“This India MegaFam highlights the current US-India Year of Tourism Partnership,” said Christopher L. Thompson, Brand USA’s President and CEO. “It’s an opportunity to showcase the limitless number of travel opportunities available across the United States – in, near, and beyond the traditional US gateway destinations.”

The US Commerce Department’s National Travel and Tourism Office is working with the Government of India’s Ministry of Tourism during 2017 to enhance flow of tourism between the United States and India.

“With nonstop flights between India and 5 cities in the United States, Air India has brought the 2 countries closer than ever,” said Pankaj Srivastava, Board Director – Commercial, at Air India. “It is our proud privilege to help sponsor this Brand USA MegaFam for tour operators from India.”

Air India, which launched a nonstop flight from Delhi to Washington in July, also provides service to New York, Newark (NJ), Chicago, and San Francisco.

More than 1.17 million travelers from India visited the United States during 2016 – a 4-percent hike over the preceding year. (The year-to-year increase in 2015 was 17 percent.) Those Indian travelers who came in 2016 spent US$13.6 billion during their trips, which was 14 percent more than what Indian travelers spent in 2015. The level of spending for 2016 places India in the sixth position among the top 10 global source markets for spending in the United States.

“Last month, we also hosted our sixth annual sales mission to India for Brand USA partners who wish to cultivate more tourism business with India,” Thompson said. “India has one of the world’s fastest-growing outbound travel and tourism sectors. It presents tremendous opportunities as a source market for inbound tourism to the United States.”

Brand USA invests most of its consumer marketing in 14 international markets. One of these markets is India. Collectively, the 14 accounts for more than 80 percent of all inbound travel to the United States.

As with all Brand USA’s MegaFams, the Indian tour operators who received invitations for this week-long event qualified by completing designated modules of Brand USA’s online training package, the USA Discovery Program. They also competed with other India tour operators through their levels of sales production.

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