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South Carolina steps up pursuit of Indian visitors
Rohit Kaul, New Delhi, November 19, 2014

THE US state of South Carolina is keen to dramatically increase tourist arrivals from India in the next two years, having formulated a strategy to tap this market, said a senior tourism executive during an official visit to the country.

Duane Parrish, director, South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism, said: "South Carolina recorded around 30,000 Indian arrivals in 2013. We are looking to double this figure. The growth of middle and upper-middle classes in India makes it a prime market for us."

South Carolina will be partnering Brand USA to participate in their upcoming roadshows in India, apart from investing in print and online advertising.

"We want to use social media and outdoor advertisement as tools to create awareness. We are also looking to organise a fam trip for Indian travel consultants in the next 12 months," added Parrish.

Nikki Haley, governor of South Carolina who is on a 10-day trip to India to boost business ties between the two countries, said: "Whether you want to have a board meeting or vacation, South Carolina is the place."

At present, half of all Indian visitors to South Carolina come for business, while the rest are leisure travellers.

Parrish said: "We are keen to increase the share of leisure travellers from India.

“South Carolina offers unique experiences, featuring historical monuments and massive plantations. We also want to promote adventure activities like kayaking, boating and hiking.”

Parrish is planning to visit India again in September 2015 with a 12-member delegation comprising tourism promoters from specific locations like Charleston.

Currently, key source markets for South Carolina include Mexico, Canada, the UK, Germany and France.

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