India will be key for Utah’s recovery

Rachel Bremer, Global Travel Trade & Destination Development Manager, Utah Office of Tourism and Film, discusses how the state will build its brand in India through its representative in the country – IndiJo Consulting. The FIT/ luxury segment is a primary focus for them in India.

Hazel Jain

What are the tourism board’s focus areas?

Our immediate focus for India is on product development, brand awareness and education. Regardless of the pandemic, travel will resume, and India will be an important market to support Utah’s visitor economy recovery. Visitors will want to explore our stunning landscapes and enjoy a road trip when they are able to travel again.

What traveller segments are you aiming to tap?

We are aiming to tap into the FIT/luxury visitor segment. These are visitors that typically have already travelled to the US, and are looking to expand their exploration beyond the East Coast and West Coast. Comprised of honeymooners/couples, families and small multi-family groups that will enjoy the vistas and viewpoints along our scenic byways, hiking in our national and state parks, bespoke cuisine, glamping and other unique experiences. The pandemic will lead to many people looking for a destination that offers respite and scenic beauty, which is what they will find in Utah.

When do you expect a recovery in numbers for Utah?

Our forecasting data for our core markets via Tourism Economics reflects a small recovery in 2021, (by spring of 2021), with slowed growth through 2023, and a 6.2 per cent growth from 2019 to 2024. We expect the FIT/luxury segment to recover first, which is also one of the reasons why this segment is a primary focus for us in India.

What are some of the learnings for you in the time of COVID?

We have learned how to be adaptable and how important it is that we do not abandon our efforts across the world. Brands that stay in-market, continue to invest, forge partnerships and increase brand awareness will not only recover quicker, but also gain market share. Now is not the time to abandon our industry, but do all we can to rebuild.

What are your expectations from India market?

With strategic co-operative marketing, partnerships, education and product development, as well as targeted consumer marketing, we will see growth. We must inspire consumers to visit Utah while creating an accessible, bookable product for our travel trade partners. We are fairly new to the market, but I am optimistic that with the right messaging, partnerships and education, we can increase visitation and visitor spending from India.

 

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