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India Market Profile

As California’s global footprint continues to expand, India projects to be “the next China” in terms of visitation, and Visit California has already been planting roots and cultivating relationships in advance of the inevitable boom. California welcomed its first direct, nonstop flight from India in 2016. With an additional airlift coming online in the next year, India is primed for significant growth.


  • Many travelers continue to experience the United States and California due to business engagements
  • Visa process helps increase attractiveness of United States travel
  • Print and television are major drivers in awareness and enticement
  • Increase in vacation frequency in market

  • Experiential demand is increasing, driven by the luxury segment

India Profile

In Person Trips, 2017
$823 Million
Visitor Spending, 2017

Market Conditions

GDP Annual Growth Rate

India is one of the most dynamic emerging economies and is likely to grow at 7 percent or more year-over-year due to strong private demand and government reforms (excluding the effect of demonetization). The size of the Indian economy is expected to more than double to $5 trillion if the projected growth rate is sustained for the next 10 years. In 2016, India jumped 16 places in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) 2016-17 Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) to emerge as the highest rising economy due to improvement in goods market efficiency, business sophistication and innovation.

Exchange Rate

  • 1 Indian Rupee Equals 0.016 U.S. Dollar
  • The Indian rupee (INR) hit a 20-month high at 64.32 to the dollar in April 2017. The rupee has strengthened against all other major currencies—euro, Japanese yen and British pound.
  • In a major step to check undeclared black money, the Government of India announced demonetization of INR 500 and INR 1,000 banknotes in November 2016. The impact on outbound travel sentiments was the immediate removal of cash that is often used for luxury and discretionary purchases such as travel. Demonetization initially caused a heavy jolt on the tourism sector.

Travel & Planning Methodologies


  • Six weekly nonstop flights
  • 1,428 weekly seats
  • Air India announced the increased capacity of their first ever direct flight from India (New Delhi) to the West Coast (San Francisco) from three weekly to six weekly flights starting November 2016. The airline launched the direct route with three weekly flights in December 2015. The route has been one of Air India’s most successful networks. Air India is now focusing on the leisure market as well. They are scheduled to launch a direct flight to Los Angeles in 2018.


  • Planning timeframe: three to four months in advance; for FIT travel the typical planning timeframe is eight to 12 weeks prior to departure.
  • Booking timeframe: Planning and booking timeframe remains the same; booking is now getting advanced.

Market Barriers & Risk Factors

Competitive Landscape

Key competitors include:

Other Market Insights


  • Visit California categorized India its top opportunity market, with a strong growth rate and an expanding desire among Indians to travel more frequently.
  • The current ease of the visa process helps increase attractiveness of United States travel.


  • Demand in customized holidays continues to grow.
  • Experiential demand is increasing, driven by the luxury segment.


  • Many travelers continue to experience the United States and California through business meetings, allowing the Bleisure market to grow steadily.
  • The Super Affluent audience is a large and steadily growing audience for long-haul destinations such as California and represents a marketing focus for Visit California.
  • The celebrity culture plays a big role in India, allowing California to reach a wide audience in engaging film and entertainment celebrities to film and experience the diverse and beautiful state.


  • Print and television create major awareness and entice consumers. They continue to remain the largest draw for people buying packages by contacting their travel agent.



  • Ministry for Finance
  • UN Report
  • U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Tourism Economics
  • CIC Research, Inc.