India Tours -most important tour operators have requested the US government to simplify visa procedures to boost meeting incentive exhibition (MICE) tourism. The Visit USA Committee a two-way effort by tour operators and the US Commerce Department was launched by US business secretary John Bryson on Friday.
"Travel and tourism to the US is an significant way for us to expand our commercial ties and ensure impartial trade growth between our countries. Total expenditure by India travel to the US was $4.6 billion last year, up 15 per cent from the year earlier than. With the help of Visit USA, we wait for this trend to continue,” said Bryson. He said around 660,000 Indians visited the country last year.
An executive of another tour company puts the share of US business around 15 per cent which is much less compared to Europe and South East Asia. Also, a large profit of Indians travelling to the US falls under the visiting friends and relative’s category who do not take a package tour.
"US tour market has not grown. Cost is also a factor with dollar appreciating tour expenses to US have increased,'' observed Madhav Pai, chief in service officer at Thomas Cook. An aspect, travel industry sources, say is that US itself has not been involved in large scale marketing to draw tourism. However, things seem to be changing now. The state of California and city of San Francisco are advertising the destinations, Sheema Vohra of Visit California said.
Bryson said the Commerce Department is working closely with America’s travel and tourism industry to give confidence more travel from countries such as India to the US. This is part of a better plan called our National Travel and Tourism plan which will be delivered to President Barack Obama in coming weeks, he said. Last week the US Department of State announced a new pilot programmed that will allow certain applicants to apply for visas without life form interviewed in being by a US consular officer.