Destination DC holds its first India Sales and Media mission

Destination DC, the official destination marketing organisation for Washington DC held its maiden India Sales and Media Mission in Mumbai on April 1 at Air India Auditorium. The show was taken to Ahmedabad, followed by Delhi in the first week of April. The DMO’s premiere visit comes in recognition of India being Washington DC’s fourth-largest overseas market. Visitations from India peaked in 2017, growing 31.5%  to reach 135,000 visitors, prompting the need for a dedicated sales mission to the subcontinent.

The special occasion was captained by Elliot Ferguson, CEO & President, Destination DC. Ferguson also serves as the First Vice Chair, Board of Directors, U.S. Travel Association, presenting the best of Washington DC as well as the Capital Region.

Inaugurating the premiere venture, Fergusson addressed a select group of sales and media representatives. He elaborated his newest plans and efforts in promoting the Capital City among the Indian travel trade fraternity, guiding them in building inclusive tour packages and new, exciting itineraries.

Ferguson’s speech was followed by an in-depth cultural tour of Washington DC by Theresa Belpulsi, Vice President, Tourism, Sports & Visitor Services, Destination DC. The Destination DC team joined hands in giving the Indian travel trade a taste of the city’s hospitality and its unique offerings.

In an exclusive interview with Travel News Digest, Fergusson also talked of his visit to India and future plans for the tourism sector. He said, “It has been great meeting new customers and having a refreshingly different itinerary in India.” He attributed the recent increase in visitations from India to a hassle-free visa process alongside direct Air India flights from New Delhi to Washington DC.

Shedding further light on the visa application process, he explained, “From the feedback that we’ve received, the process has gotten much better. It started with the former Obama administration and continues with the current administration.”

He also divulged the main objective behind the India Sales Mission was to promote the idea of discovering Washington DC, covering all the aspects from food to nightlife, shopping, restaurants, outdoor activities, sporting events and much more. He added, “I think for the long term, we anticipate additional investment in promoting Washington DC in India. We see the return on investment. So, missions like this give us the opportunity to continue to review what makes the most sense for us as a destination. So, we will continue our efforts to explore the Indian market.”

Speaking of his plans for the Indian market, he disclosed that focus areas will include MICE, leisure, family and youth travel. “The last decade we’ve invested more in growing with the MICE market as a city. We still rely heavily on trade shows to assist us in pursuing the MICE market. We’re relatively new to the frontier. We’ll continue to focus our ways to get first-time MICE meetings to Washington DC.”

The first-ever India Sales and Media Mission conducted by Destination DC revealed a future full of promises and new opportunities to be explored in building constructive travel and tourism ties between DC and India.