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LA Tourism sees India in top 5 mkts

Los Angeles (LA) Tourism, the non-profit sales and marketing organization of the west coast city in the US, expects to welcome 110,000 visitors from India this year, a sharp increase from 80,000 in 2022. However, it will be only in 2024 when the figure is expected to top the pre-covid record of 130,000 in 2019.

Chief executive Adam Burke, on his first visit to India since setting up the LA Tourism office in Mumbai in 2019, is hopeful that India will rank among the top five source countries for inbound travellers in the next three years. India is currently ninth on the list. In the next five years, the number of visitors will grow to half a million and one million in the next decade, he said. To boost air connectivity, the organization also met with the Tata group after Air India’s historic aircraft order.

“India is the fastest emerging travel and tourism market on the planet if you look at the growth curve. Right now, we’re expecting that we’ll see roughly almost $300 million in visitor spending from India this year, which will grow to almost $350 million next year, which will be a full recovery in the market. But that is just a fraction of the potential for the market,” Burke said. “So when I look forward, five years down the road, my expectation is that we will probably start to approach 500,000 annual visitors from India. I think it’s very conceivable that within the next 10 years, it will easily exceed a million visitors a year.” He said the lack of a direct flight from India is one a major hurdle to unlocking the potential.

“We do not have a non-stop service. Besides the visa processing issue this is an impediment to exponential growth from India. We were supposed to get a non-stop service in 2020, but then the world came to a halt. Given how lucrative the LA route is, we’re optimistic that we’ll see non-stop service.”

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