Tuesday, February 27, 2024
India News

Indian visitors to see maximum rise from 2019 levels by 2027: US commerce department | India News

NEW DELHI: Uncle Sam expects the maximum increase in visitors (over pre-Covid 2019 levels) from India over the next four years. The US commerce department Monday released its official forecast of international visitation to the country — 7.7 crore in 2024, up 15.4% 2023, and reaching 8.5 crore in 2025, surpassing pre-pandemic 2019 visitation of 7.9 crore.While the average overall visitation from all foreign countries is expected to be 115% of 2019 levels in 2027, the increase for India is the highest among the top 20 source countries at 126% over 2019 levels. The forecast for 2023-2025 shows India reaching the highest share of 2019 levels for overseas countries (that does not include Canada and Mexico which share a land border with the US).
US commerce department’s International Trade Administration (ITA) data shows 14.7 lakh Indian visited the country in 2019. This number then fell to 3.4 lakh in 2020 and then marginally rose to 4.3 lakh in 2021 before reaching 12.5 lakh in 2022 (actual numbers).
While the actual number for 2023 are awaited, ITA forecast shows Indian visitors touching 14.2 lakh, 15.6 lakh, 16.3 lakh, 17.3 lakh and 18.6 lakh in 2023, 2024, 2025, 2026 and 2027, respectively. In comparison with 2019 visitation, the number of expected visitors from India in 2027 is the highest at 126%.
The US Embassy in India in 2023 had processed the highest ever number of visa applications in a year at 14 lakh. And the increased staffing along with other innovative means used to cut the backlog has led visitor visa appointment wait times here dropping by 75% — from a 2022 high of an average of 1,000 days to 250 days last year, the US embassy in New Delhi had recently said in a statement.
“Demand across all visa classes was unprecedented, with a 60% increase in applications compared to 2022. Indians now represent one out of every 10 US visa applicants around the world. Visitor visas (B1/B2) have rebounded to represent the second highest number of applications in the US mission’s history – over 700,000,” the embassy statement had said. Travel industry insiders say the numbers would been even higher had it not been for the visa processing delays being seen since 2021, though the wait time is fast dropping now.
US commerce secretary Gina Raimondo said: “I’m excited to announce that we are expecting a 15% increase in visitors from around the globe in 2024 and continued increases throughout the rest of the decade, which will further bolster America’s travel and tourism industry. Since the beginning of the Biden Administration, the commerce department has taken decisive actions to support the travel and tourism industry’s recovery from the economic challenges of a global pandemic. This 2024 forecast demonstrates our tourism strategy is working to… keeping the US as the number one destination for travel and tourism.”

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