Joe D’ Alessandro, President & CEO, San Francisco Travel Association (SFTA), has said that the Association is hopeful of a major boost in inbound numbers from India to San Francisco in coming months, considering the major improvements that are taking place in air connectivity between the two destinations. Etihad Airways launched a service from their hub, Abu Dhabi to San Francisco in December last year, and Turkish Airlines started a flight to the city from their hub in Istanbul a couple of weeks ago. Similarly, carriers like Lufthansa, Cathay Pacific, and Emirates are focusing on the Indian market and offering connectivity from their respective hubs, Alessandro said.
Addressing the media in Delhi, Alessandro said that India is one of the top three “emerging markets” for San Francisco, and arrivals from the market have registered a growth of over 27 per cent between 2010 and 2014. About 149,000 Indians visited the US city in 2014, compared with 108,000 in 2010, he informed. “Forty per cent of Indians coming to the US visit San Francisco,” he added. As per statistics, more than 48 per cent of Indian visitors to the city are first-timers, and 95 per cent of them express desire to visit the city again.
In terms of average number of days spent in San Francisco and per visitor spend, Indians score much higher than other nationalities, Alessandro noted. While any other international visitor stays for four days on an average in the city, the Indian visitor stays for 5.4 days, with a per-person-per-visit spend of USD 2,580, he elaborated. SFTA expects up to 16 per cent growth in Indian arrivals over the next three years.
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