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Thursday, 10 October, 2019, 12 : 00 PM [IST]

Visit California to highlight & promote ‘self-drive trips’ in Indian market

Tourism agency of California expects big boost in Indian visitations with new direct air connectivity
Visit California will be stressing on experiential ‘self-drive’ trips in California in their promotional activities in the Indian market in the coming years. The tourism marketing agency of California believes the destination has earned a lot of laurels for its fabulous road trips with international travellers and would help in attracting a lot of ‘experience-seeking’ Indian travellers to the destination. This was informed by Ashley Abney, Manager of International Marketing, Visit California, in an interaction with TravelBiz Monitor. She was in Delhi recently participating in the Brand USA India Sales Mission.

“California is the Mecca for road trips. We really feel that we started the trend and therefore we can definitely own that. We really want to focus and promote self-drive road trips in California in coming years,” she said.

Visit California has put-together 12 fabulous road trip itineraries for trade to promote. “To get a feel of California, the best way is to hit the road on a self-drive car,” she added. Road trips starting from San Francisco and ending at Mendocino or Yosemite and the Pacific Coast Highway No. 1 to Los Angeles are quite popular and full of natural beauty, great food trail, amusement parks, theme parks, etc., she added.

She said that in her interactions with the Indian travel trade there were many inquiries about “special experiences”, and road trips are the best answer for those who are looking for unique experiences. According to her self-drive tours are already popular with almost 40% of Indian visitors to California and want to further build up on that.

Abney said that the endeavour is also to build on the “natural connections’ that exists between the Hollywood and the Bollywood, and make the engagement stronger and stronger. She said that they will explore taking Bollywood producers to California to see the “product first hand” and build strong relationships. Another area where Visit California wanted to enhance its engagement in the market is sports marketing, especially in the light of India hosting the first-ever NBA match in Mumbai. California’s own NBA team, Sacramento Kings, played Indiana Pacers in Mumbai for the first time recently.  “We are happy that the first team playing is from California. We think that sports marketing is a good angle which can appeal to young travellers and the luxury market which likes luxury lifestyle,” she said.

Over 3.50 lakh Indians visited California in 2018, registering a growth of 6% over the previous year. Abney expressed the hope that California will be able to reach the targeted 4-lakh-mark by the end of this year. With United beginning daily seasonal schedule between San Francisco and Delhi starting December this year, California Tourism is expecting major boost in terms of visitations from India. “We see India as a positive growth market, and our number one opportunity for tourist numbers,” she informed.

 
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