Los Angeles has continued to push the envelope on creativity throughout the pandemic, bringing new experiences to travellers. Seema Kadam, Regional Director, India, Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board, gave some fresh insights about the current initiatives in India and new tourism offerings in the City of Angels.
– Prashant Nayak
Los Angeles remains fully committed to the India market. Los Angeles Tourism is the only U.S. Destination Marketing Organisation with full-time staff overseas, including one team member based in Mumbai. To better help Indian trade partners understand the destination, Los Angeles Tourism presently offers a refreshed version of the L.A. Insider training program found at insider.discoverlosangeles.com. This B2B platform highlights Los Angeles through three chapters and educates the travel trade on selling and promoting L.A.
“We also have a dedicated B2B Facebook page to keep the travel trade updated on what’s new in the destination, as Los Angeles is a creative city that is constantly evolving! Moreover, we will continue working with partners like Brand USA, participate in niche travel shows and collaborate with the travel trade in India to ensure that itineraries are structured and customised to suit Indian travellers’ tastes and demands in the coming months,” says Seema.
Amid the long visa wait issue, the concerned US government authorities are taking active steps to reduce wait time and backlogs. “The U.S. Embassy is resuming routine in-person tourist visa appointments in September 2022 and has been fast-tracking study and work-related visas. Demand is extremely high, so they are experiencing extended wait times, which we expect to be streamlined in the coming months. Also, effective June 12, 2022, visitors are not required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before boarding a U.S.-bound flight if double vaccinated,” informs Seema.
Highlighting the destination’s new experiences for a great time, Seema mentions, “At Los Angeles Tourism, we are optimistic about the future of travel. A decade of unforgettable sports events is underway with our state-of-the-art venues, including SoFi Stadium, which has been selected to host the FIFA world cup in 2026. The arts and culture scene is back with new offerings, including The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which opened its doors in September 2021, telling the stories of moviemaking through immersive and dynamic exhibits.” Los Angeles also has more accommodation options for travellers than ever, with the opening of many new hotels including the iconic Fairmont Century Plaza as well as a crop of boutique properties in Downtown Los Angeles and Hollywood, including the Thompson Hollywood and Downtown L.A. Proper.
Post-lifting of travel restrictions and resumption of flights, Los Angeles Tourism believes that India is well-poised to retain its pre-pandemic position as one of the fastest growing international markets to Los Angeles in the coming months. “The demand for travel to Los Angeles is supported by excellent air connectivity, high-tech infrastructure, and immersive experiences for the evolved Indian traveller. As part of our growth and marketing efforts in India, we are now looking at reaching out to source markets beyond the key metros of Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore and creating awareness on the destination via road shows and other initiatives,” shares Seema.
Post-pandemic, people have become more aware of discovering niche destinations and experiences. Indians who have not been able to travel in the past couple of years want to use their savings and utilise their valid U.S. visa. Seema says, “Travellers make the long-haul trip to L.A. to visit their family, friends, and relatives and explore the destination beyond the regular sites. Los Angeles offers plenty of ways to uniquely experience the city at any budget with many inexpensive, or even free, options to immerse yourself in the City of Angels. Several museums in L.A. offer free admission, including the Getty Center, MOCA, and the California Science Center, and some of Los Angeles’ best food can be discovered at affordable hidden gems and food trucks. You can’t put a price on the city’s amazing weather as well, with free experiences such as hikes in Griffith Park or beaches in Venice and Malibu as the perfect way to enjoy Los Angeles’ sunny days.”
According to Seema, with a growing economy, a young population, and a strong middle class, India could become one of the most lucrative outbound tourism markets in the world. This is also an excellent opportunity for destination marketers who can reach India’s young population comprised of Gen Z and millennials who have a propensity to travel abroad. Thus, the rate of growth that they are experiencing in India for outbound travel is huge. The world is excited to welcome Indian travellers.