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Indian visitors stay the longest in US

52 per cent come to the US to visit friends and families and 51 per cent make a trip for business purposes.

india Updated: Jun 15, 2006 12:22 IST

Indian visitors on an average stay for 42 days in the United States, the longest among visitors from all countries, says an American tourism industry expert.

"Though (neighbours) Mexicans constitute a large portion of tourists visiting the US, it's the Indians who stay for the longest period of time," said Jorge Franz, executive director of tourism of Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau.

"While tourists from Europe spend 14 to 21 days on an average, Mexicans stay for only seven days. But it's the Indians who stay for an average 42 days. We are planning to promote tourism vigorously in India," Franz, currently in India said.

He said 52 per cent come to the US to visit friends and families and 51 per cent make a trip for business purposes. In 2005, a total of 334,000 Indians visited the country.

He said the number of visitors from India had grown tremendously in the last few years.

"Between 2000 and 2006, the number of visitors grew by 33 percent per annum and it will touch the 55 percent mark by 2008."

However, Indians spent only $42 a day as against $112 by a Mexican, he said.

Franz said looking at the economic growth, efforts were on to push further both leisure travel and business travel among Indians.

"In Houston alone, we would like to promote the Johnson Space Center of NASA, the upcoming cruise tourism in Houston port and many other things to the Indians.

"We had already met a delegate of the Indian Association of Tour Operators and hope things will fall into place soon," he added.

However, experts said that to promote tourism between Houston and India, better air connectivity with India was a must.

"We are in touch with the aviation ministry and assume that Indian carriers like Air India can play a major role in this sector," said Genaro Pena, director marketing, Houston Airport System.

A 16-member delegation of the Greater Houston Partnership, a leading commerce body of Houston, is in India to promote bilateral trade between the two regions.