Bringing the California Dream to India
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Bringing the California Dream to India

By Leona Reed 02/04/2020

Visit California started the New Year on a high note, making a grand entrance in our No. 1 opportunity market. Held Jan. 13-17, the state’s first-ever standalone India Sales Mission marked an important milestone in the evolution of our India strategy. Together, 25 delegates representing 18 destinations and attractions demonstrated the Golden State’s commitment to the market while deepening relationships with key trade, media and film production partners in New Delhi and Mumbai.

Leisure travel from India to California is growing steadily, with an annual 5-6% increase in arrivals forecasted for the foreseeable future. In 2018, Indian travelers spent nearly $1.1 billion in California. By 2023, Indian visitors will be contributing over $1.5 billion to the state’s tourism economy.

Bringing the California Dream to India
Associate Vice President of Global Marketing Leona Reed shakes hands with Wedding Line Founder Chetan Vohra. 

This is the prime time to capitalize on India’s growing middle class and the large number of high net worth individuals who, collectively, are poised to fuel a massive outbound travel boom. Visit California's engagements during the mission served to educate influential professionals on the diversity and abundance the Golden State offers travelers today, while driving demand for the California experience. Expanding and diversifying the California tourism product portfolio in India and raising brand awareness are top strategic priorities.

From “Taste of California” VIP networking dinner events attended by hundreds of clients to training agents at B2B sessions and hosting a press conference that garnered over 30 placements to date, Team California made important inroads that advanced our business development and promotional goals in India.

Visit California's mission was very fortunate to overlap with Lt. Governor of California Eleni Kounalakis' visit to the market, which brought an impressive delegation of 30 California companies organized by the Bay Area Council. The two delegations attended each other's events, with Lt. Governor Kounalakis making an important appearance at Visit California's media interviews, Film Forum and “Taste of California” dinner in New Delhi. That high-level government presence enhanced an already stellar program curated by Visit California's India office.

 Bringing the California Dream to India

Another special addition to the traditional mission program was the “Film Forum 3.0” meeting with the Film & Television Producers Guild of India. A handful of California CEOs reconvened with six top producers representing the Guild, with whom Visit California had met during a 2017 mission. The meeting gave Visit California an opportunity to introduce California’s dynamic new Film Commissioner, Colleen Bell. The Incentives, marketing and logistical support California is prepared to offer Indian production houses were discussed. Progress was also made toward breaking down barriers to future co-productions, brainstorming next steps and signed an updated memorandum of understanding to strengthen each party’s commitment to the collaboration.

The positive response at every touch point by California's colleagues in India — and the invaluable intelligence gathered — inspired optimism about what the future holds for California’s tourism industry in India.

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