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Wednesday, 04 December, 2019, 17 : 30 PM [IST]

San Francisco Travel Association hopes new air service by UNITED to stimulate travel growth from India in coming years

With UNITED scheduled to commence daily operations between San Francisco and New Delhi from December 7, San Francisco Travel Association, the official tourism agency of the city of San Francisco, is hopeful of a new wave in travel from India to the city in coming years.  Between Air India and UNITED, both Star Alliance carriers, there will be 16 weekly frequencies available now for travellers to explore San Francisco and wider California region of the US. 

“The new air service will definitely be a stimulator for new growth.  Although India is an important market for San Francisco, it is still an untapped market.  There are millions of Indians anxious and eager to visit San Francisco but not yet come.  Therefore, new air service will help such people to visit San Francisco and the United States,” said Joe D’ Alessandro, President & CEO of San Francisco Travel Association in an interaction with TravelBiz Monitor.

Considering San Francisco is a major conference and convention destination, the new air connectivity would drive more business and conference traffic from India to San Francisco, Joe feels. “The city hosts number of IT and Medical conferences.  Lot of IT professionals and doctors from India come for these conferences.  The new air service will make travel easier for large conference guests from India,” he said. Since Air India and UNITED are Star Alliance partners, connectivity from anywhere in India will become simple, Joe added.

India is one of the best performing source markets for the city’s tourism in the last few years. In terms of visitor numbers and visitor spend, India market has out-performed many other markets, Joe said. The city received 216,000 Indian visitors last year registering a growth of over 5% in arrivals and 7.7% growth in spending. India is currently placed number 7 in terms of visitor numbers and number 3 in terms of spending for Destination San Francisco.  Joe expressed the hope that India would soon become the second top market in terms of spending after China if the growth momentum continues. 

Commenting on the global economic slowdown and its impact on future travel, Joe said that although it is a major concern for destination promoters, the strong business and other connections between San Francisco and India would continue to play a strong case for growth in travel. “There is a lot of business connections between Bay Area of San Francisco because of IT industry and the presence of strong Indian community settled there. These are not going to go away,” he said.  While group travel used to be dominant in the past, people today feel more comfortable to travel alone driving more FIT, Joe said.

He said that the marketing and promotional activities will be targeted at alluring new travellers who haven’t explored San Francisco  in the past. San Francisco, he said, is ideally placed to be a great starting point for road trips to discover Northern California, the Silicon Valley, the Wine Country, the Yosemite National Park, etc.


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