Indian tourists in the US spent more than $13 billion in 2016 as a US export in travel and tourism sector, a US embassy official said in Kolkata on Friday.
"It looks like that in 2016 Indian tourists in the US spent more than $13 billion as a US export in travel and tourism sector creating or supporting some 62,500 jobs in the US. The 2016 figures are draft figures. The final numbers will be released in June," Counsellor for Commercial Affairs, Patrick O. Santillo said in Kolkata.
He was speaking at the "Indo-US Promotion of Travel and Tourism" conference organised by the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with the US Consulate General.
"Tourism is, in addition to all diplomatic things, an economic driver and we are fortunate to have that connection between us," he said.
Asked in reference to the Kansas incident in February, where Indian American engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla was shot dead, whether hate crimes against religious minorities have had an impact on the tourism sector, Santillo said the US continues to welcome "qualified" Indian tourists.
"I am not going to speculate on why people make those decisions to travel or not travel. I had an opportunity to meet with the Indian community in Kansas city. We are continuing to welcome qualified Indian tourists and business people in the US and we see no change in that," he added.