The US commercial service and the Visit USA Committee (VUSACOM) want to see more tourists from India to the US. As a result, the two groups have created an interactive session for professionals in the tourism industry. Similar sessions have been held in Mumbai and other cities in a bid to increase tourist traffic. According to organizers, India is ranked twelfth when it comes to the numbers of tourists traveling to the US.
According to US consul general, Peter Haas, the session also focuses on visa questions, to make the tourist visa process easier for the visitors. The session offered question and answer periods and involved everyone from tour operators to travel agents to other tourism professionals. In addition to the session, VUSACOM hopes to create a special training system for travel agents which would come with a certificate. The training would educate travel agents about US destinations and the best processes for getting tourists to the US.
VUSACOM currently has about 200 members and hopes to attract up to 1000 by December. In addition to promoting travel all over the US, the organization is especially keen to promote less-visited destinations such as Virginia or Napa Valley.
Tourism is an important economic booster for the US. In 2005 alone, tourists took 1.19 billion trips to the US from all over the world. In many states, tourism is one of the top three employers and the industry as a whole creates and supports millions of jobs per year. When tourists travel to the US, they spend money on accommodations, transportation, attractions, shopping, and food, pouring billions of dollars into the economy. Tourists also support the profits of travel agencies, airline companies, and many more types of businesses. Attracting more tourists is a positive step for the US economy, and it is an important one. Since the 2008 economic downturn, the industry has suffered since many would-be travelers stayed at home rather than spending money on travel.
The US has many historic sites, attractions, and sites that are popular with tourists. New York’s Times Square is the most-visited tourist attraction, but virtually every community has something to offer visitors and all states have tourism offices and promotional events to attract visitors.
Attracting more tourists to the US involves creating more marketing campaigns for tourist attractions and making travel more affordable and simpler (in terms of border crossings and visas) for the average traveler. Focusing on countries such as India, which have large populations and a growing middle classes interested in travel, is one cost-effective way to attract more tourists to the US.