How does San Francisco Travel Association view the India market as a potential tourism partner?
San Francisco Travel Association was the first US destination marketing organisation to set up a representative office in India in 2009. India is among one of the fastest growing emerging markets for San Francisco and arrivals from India will continue to grow. In 2011 California welcomed 194,000 India visitors. Last year San Francisco welcomed 16.51 million visitors, so each day we had 131,128 visitors and their spending was US$ 8.93 billion, an increase of 5.5 per cent.
Are there any specific plans for the India market both in terms of leisure and MICE?
San Francisco with its all year round appeal, offers ample opportunities for leisure and MICE travellers. Growth in MICE has been very positive and San Francisco continues to be one of most popular incentive destination. San Francisco is host to year-round international conventions, conferences and trade shows.
San Francisco Travel Associations has been a participant of all India missions including the Brand USA India mission last year and will be participating in the Brand USA India mission in September 2013. We engage with India’s travel companies and share product opportunities that makes San Francisco a must-visit destination for MICE and leisure. We support fam trips for both trade and media.
Are there plans to position San Francisco Tourism as a standalone destination or combine it as a tourism zone along with neighbouring regions?
San Francisco is a part of the state of California. Besides being a stand-alone destination it also a part of most California itineraries. San Francisco’s charm lies in its big city activity with diversity in culture and its iconic attractions to music, arts, shopping and cuisine which offers a magical experience. Travellers extend their trips from San Francisco taking advantage of day trips. Visitors travel across the Golden Gate Bridge to Marin County and the Sausalito or Tiburon and can take a ferry back. One can go further north and explore the wine regions of Sonoma and Napa. It’s easy to travel south of San Francisco to Monterey Peninsula and enjoy the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the art filled Carmel-by-the-sea, the golf course and coast 17 Mile Drive in Pebble Beach. One can even continue southwards and reach the Big Sur, for surfing and water sport activities, stay a night and return to San Francisco.
Is there a specialist programme that you have designed for the India market in terms of training and knowledge sharing?
San Francisco Travel works closely with India’s travel companies and tour operators to share new product opportunities as well as develop itineraries. San Francisco also has year -round educational programmes conducted in various cities in India. We also participate in several other activities to provide destination information to the travel trade.
Is there a certain USP of the region that you wish to highlight?
San Francisco International Airport is the gateway to north America and almost all major international flights connect to SFO. The airport offers ease of immigration, quick baggage clearance and swift connectivity to the Bay area, as well as ample connectivity to every city in the US facilitating ease in travel.
San Francisco enjoys Mediterranean climate and all-year round appeal. The city lends itself to an enviable lifestyle that travellers seek to experience. The icons, views, food, arts and the neighbourhood makes visitors want to return to San Francisco.