Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison was headed to India on Monday to open a new office promoting Nevada travel and tourism.
Hutchison's office, in a statement announcing the trip, noted that research shows a top reason for travel from India is to visit family living in the United States. Nineteen percent of Indian immigrants to the U.S. have settled in California, and a majority of those have settled in the Bay Area, an area in which Nevada tourism officials actively market the Silver State
"Opening an office in India will provide Nevada with greater opportunities to promote international travel and tourism to our state. We currently enjoy 6.5 percent of the India travel market share here in Nevada," Hutchison said in a statement. "With a new office in New Delhi, I am confident that our increased presence will encourage even more tourists from India to visit the Silver State."
Bethany Drysdale, public relations director for TravelNevda, said the office is a representative firm already established in India.
"We have approximately four people who will work directly with us to represent Nevada in India, but they are not employees of the state of Nevada, they are employees of the representative firm, Sartha Global. They were officially contracted with us late last year, but this is the first public event announcing our presence in India," Drysdale said in an email.
Nevada officials cited the 2015 State of the International Traveler study that surveyed 829 likely international travelers in India. Indian travelers take an average of 9.1 overnight trips and 2.5 international trips. Some 59 percent expect to travel more internationally in the next 12 months, and the same percentage said they will spend more internationally in the coming year. Their maximum annual budget for international travel is $5,451.
Indian travelers stay in midpriced hotels, post pictures or video to social media, bring back gifts for friends and relatives, visit famous American landmarks and attractions, and want to experience duty-free shipping, large malls, wildlife viewing, camping, and historical monuments, the study showed.
India has a population of around 1.2 billion, and roughly 65 percent are under the age of 35, state officials said. More than 50 million people have passports and about half of residents go overseas to shop. More than 50 million people in that country hold passports and the percentage of residents with disposable income has brown 14 percent in the last three years, officials said.
Hutchison is due to return from the trip on Feb. 1.
Besides India, Nevada has travel and tourism representative offices in eight other international markets: Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Mexico, the U.K. and South Korea.
In an email, Drysdale said officials are reviewing proposals from representatives in China and will have representation there in the next fiscal year.
She said officials contract with each of these offices at a base rate of $60,000-$75,000 per fiscal year to cover media outreach, press releases, sales calls, maintaining in-market websites, producing collateral, conducting familiarization tours in Nevada, and coordinating sales and marketing campaigns. This totals $620,000 in annual services fees for the nine offices.