Rituparna Chatterjee – Mumbai
The US is focusing on attracting the MICE segment from India for which it recently held a press conference. Peter D Haas, consul general, US Consulate General Mumbai, India spoke about the US being the number one destination in MICE travel in terms of variety of offerings, price points, to name a few. “As a source market India stands in 12th position and our goal is to take it to top 10. The tourist business visa is valid for 10 years. The interview waiver programme for qualified travellers has also simplified the visa process, wherein we meet these travellers, under this programme, once in our lifetime,” opined Haas.
The US Consulate General issued 700,000 visas from all over India in 2013 and 215,000 visa applications were from Mumbai alone. US is also looking at attracting first time MICE groups . “We look forward to working with the MICE segment especially with groups who havn’t been to the US before.” opined Julia Stanley, minister counselor for consular affairs.
Presently, there are 12 American Business Corners (ABC) in India and another one would be opening in Pune early March (and later in Goa, Nagpur and Indore). The US Consulate General has partnered with Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (IACC) for this project and a virtual model has been developed for the same. “The ABC will be providing information of some of our events, visitors, outbound delegations. For instance, we had invited the chairman of the Export-Import Bank of the United States to come to India. We made sure he went to Pune because there are a lot of Indian and American businesses there who would perhaps be interested in the bank for providing them with loans, guarantees, facilitate them in purchasing equipments from the US,” stated Camille Richardson, commercial consul, US Consulate General, US Commercial Service.