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Travel and tourism traffic surges between India and U.S.

December 2006
Travel and tourism traffic surges between India and U.S.

There was a time, not too long ago, when the two-way tourism traffic between India and the U.S. seemed unimpressive to most observers. But that has changed over time, and just last year, Indian travelers spent $1.4 billion in this country. It was an increase of 16 percent over 2004, matched by a corresponding 12 percent jump in the number of visitors who came here during that period. What's also interesting is that the movement takes place in both directions. As Khabar noted last month, the U.S. accounted for 15 percent of the overall traffic to India in 2005. According to an independent poll called the Quinnipiac National Thermometer, American voters ranked India as the fifth staunchest ally among fifteen nations. India, with an approval rating of 52 (the scale being 0 to 100), was preceded by England, Canada, Israel and Mexico. "The biggest split among blue, red and purple states is over India," the report states. Blue states, which John Kerry carried in 2004 by more than five points, gave India a rating of 55.6. Red states, which George Bush carried by that margin, gave 49.8, while voters in purple states, where the margin for either candidate was less than 5 percent, gave India a 50.8 rating. In related news, India is now considered one of the top twenty destinations for American students who want to study abroad. On the other hand, India has been sending the most number of students to the U.S. for the last few years. With a current figure of 76,500, India leads the runner-up (China) by close to 14,000 students. The visitor traffic to the U.S. from India, having already gone up by almost 26 percent over the last five years, is projected to rise by 51 percent at the end of this decade, as per a Department of Commerce study.

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