Expressing her satisfaction on the successful launch, Leona Reed, Senior Director International Marketing, Visit California remarked, "India is a very important market for us and we support such efforts to increase arrivals in California."
The event was organised with the intention to educate the Indian travel agents about the product knowledge and travel options within the US. Given the increase in Indian travellers to the US, this information is of great importance to the Indian travel industry. Participants at the event included US destinations like Visit California, San Francisco Travel, Visit Orlando, Travel Oregon and Philadelphia Convention & Visitors, while the attractions included were the California Academy of Sciences, and Red and White Fleet.
Commenting on the forum, Helen Tsui, Director-International Tourism- Asia Pacific, San Francisco Travel said, "We believe that such initiatives educate our travel partners on the multiple attractions available to visitors in the city of San Francisco."
Stefan Merkl, VP Sales and Marketing, Red and White Fleet added, "Interest in Red and White Fleet's services continues to grow, with an increasing number of Indian tour operators and receptive services now working with us."
A new interactive website (http://sarthaindia.com/travelamericaforum/) has also been launched to facilitate direct interaction between Indian travel agents and US participants. The first-of-its-kind website allows visitors to contact participating destinations and products for business information. Sheema Vohra, President, Sartha Marketing commented, "The idea is to provide extensive and varied information on United States at the click of a mouse."
According to the US Department of Commerce-Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, in 2010, the annual visitation to the US from India increased by 18 per cent. By 2016, India is expected to be the ninth largest generator of international arrivals to the US, up from its current 12th position, with nearly 1.3 million arrivals. This is a 94 per cent increase over 2010's arrivals of 651,000.