India was the U.S.’ s second top market for travelers outside of North America between April and June, according to the National Travel and Tourism Office’s data released Monday. Over 500,000 Indian travelers came to the America in the those three months, up from 392,000 and 498,000 for the same period in 2022 and pre-pandemic 2019, respectively.
In the first six months of 2023, over 800, 000 Indian travelers came to the U.S., making it America’s second largest’s non-North American market after the UK this year.
Nearly 60% of Indian travelers came to the U.S. for vacation, business or a conference in the first six months of this year, according to the National Travel and Tourism Office. On average, Indian travelers spent $3,500 per trip in the U.S. The states they visited the most were California, New York and Texas.
In 2023, the U.S. is expected to welcome 1.4 million Indian travelers, which is 97% of their pre-pandemic volume, according to the National Travel and Tourism Office. It will be the U.S.’s sixth top source overseas market in 2023, after the UK, France, Germany, Japan and Brazil. In 2019, India was the U.S. eighth-largest market.
It’s notable is that India has recovered so quickly and is rising as top source market for the U.S. despite long visa wait times at U.S. embassies, which suggests inbound travel from the country has been heavily restrained.
While the number of visitor visa approvals for Indians has “outperformed” 2019 levels, they remain over 400 days on average, said U.S. Travel Association CEO and President Geoff Freeman at Skift Global Forum. In New Delhi, for example, an Indian national would have to wait 542 days for a visa interview at the U.S. Embassy.
The visa wait times deter Indian travel into the U.S. “The message to that traveler is all but go away. This is anything but a welcoming environment,” said Freeman.
U.S. destination marketing organizations have been investing in driving tourism from India. New York Tourism + Conventions, San Francisco Travel and Los Angeles Tourism have expanded their marketing efforts in India this year.
“We’ve invested heavily in India,” said NYC Tourism + Conventions CEO and President Fred Dixon at Skift Global Forum. “I was just there in January, we’ll be back again next January. We see a huge opportunity in the future from India. We’re excited about the airlift opportunities.”
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