Around three million Indian passport holders hold valid US visas and have started travelling to their destinations.
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Fred Dixon, president and CEO of NYC & Company, New York’s official destination marketing agency, said the US government is working to expedite new US visa applications, add agents visas and expand visa processing facilities.
Renewals for 10-year U.S. visas have accelerated to just two weeks, similar to what happened in the days leading up to the pandemic, said state officials who recently returned to India.
“In 2022, we recovered 85% of our record 2019 tourism levels with about 56.4 million visitors. This was a 71% increase over 2021 when the pandemic was still on. Of this, about 47 million were domestic visitors and 8.9 million were international visitors,” said Dixon.
He added that regular travel routes are returning to U.S. cities and he expects total visitors to rise to 61.7 million in 2023, a 93% recovery, and surpass 2019 levels by 2024.
“The requests for student visas from India are also on the rise, more than other countries. During the pandemic, India remained a top 10 market for New York city, with many Indians visiting their friends and family during this time. In 2022, we had about 2.5 lakh Indian visitors, recovering 75% of 2019 visitation (of 3.36 lakh.),” he added.
There are 27 flights a week from India to the city. Of these, 24 depart from Delhi and about 3 depart from Mumbai. That number is expected to rise to 41 flights per week by summer. The capacity expansion is expected to come at Air India’s expense.