July 15, 2008

India Rising in Popularity with American Tourists

This article appeared in the San Jose Mercury News. Timely as we prepare to do a nationwide tour for the Indian tour industry on Inclusive Tourism:


NEW DELHI—Keith Lotman went to New Delhi on a two-week business trip. But a quick day of sightseeing in India's capital city left him enthralled and ready to see more of the country. "I have about a hundred different places that I'd like to visit," said Lotman, 31, a business executive from Philadelphia, as he checked out the world's largest Bahai temple in New Delhi. "A hundred different kinds of experiences." He added: "It's very different from any place I've traveled to before. Culturally very different. I'd definitely like to go to Agra to see the Taj Mahal next...."

New tourists like Lotman have helped feed a boom in travel to India, and the country is now nearly as popular a destination for Americans as Spain. Travel to India from the United States increased 10 percent between 2006 and 2007, on top of an 8 percent rise the year before. More Americans visited India last year than went to Ireland or Thailand, according to the most recent data from U.S. Department of Commerce.

The upsurge in Americans visiting India is part of broader boom in India's tourism industry. In 2007, some 5 million travelers headed to India, nearly double from 2000, according to the Tourism Ministry. Visitors from the U.S. accounted for 15.7 percent of the total.

These include a large number of business travelers, wealthy retirees out to explore India from the comfortable confines of an air-conditioned luxury bus or train, and people of Indian origin eager to see their parents'—or grandparents'—homeland.

For the full article: Americans are part of boom in tourism to India

Even better, watch Rolling Rains for a travelogue as we go.

Posted by rollingrains at July 15, 2008 01:11 AM