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Thursday, 01 December, 2016, 12 : 29 PM [IST]

‘It is imperative to train our agents in India’

Jon Mamela

Q. What is your plan for the Indian market as Canada is celebrating 150 years in 2017?
A. Canada is celebrating 150 years in 2017, which is a great opportunity to showcase Canada to the world. We invite everyone to come and be a part of this celebration throughout the year and while our nation’s capital will be a focal point there is much to be enjoyed from coast to coast to coast. With regards to the Indian market, we registered a significant growth in tourist arrivals up to August, which is 10% when compared with that of 2015. We still have few more months to complete the year, which means there is further scope for growth.

We foresee a greater number of tourists from India in 2017 as our partner Air Canada has started operating direct flight from New Delhi to Vancouver. We are working closely with Indian travel trade and media to accelerate the growth further.

Q. India is a vast country, which cities are you targeting?
A. Traditionally our focus has been Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, however, looking at the potential, we have started focusing Tier-II and III cities from the last two years, and the result is also encouraging.

Q. Who are your target audience?
A. Our target audience is affluent Indian families, primarily who have seen and experienced other dynamic cultural cities of the world. To be more precise, people who are really keen to see the beauty of a country and also visited countries like France, Australia and regions like South Asia. We also target tourists who want to visit the USA and Canada on dual-nation vacation. Another area of our focus is people who have relatives staying in Canada who could be their hosts.


Q. Aren’t you targeting young Indians who are not necessarily very affluent?
A. I am not saying that we are not targeting them. Rather we are recognising them in other markets around the world. As far as India is concerned, since Air Canada has started direct flights we are collaborating with them on marketing Canada. Once young travellers are here, they will find Canada to be an affordable destination.

Q. Are you increasing Budget for Indian market? If yes, elaborate on the spend.
A. India is to get an incremental budget increase for 2017. There is not an iota of doubt that this will predominantly be used for travel trade and media engagement. We are finalising our plans for the Indian market for 2017 and another area of focus is to train agents in India. Since we are also targeting Tier-II and III cities of India and promoting new destinations as well, hence it is imperative to train our agents in India. Proper training of agents about our various destinations will facilitate the growth of tourist arrival.

Q. How do you view India as a source market two years down the line?
A. There are many indications that the Indian market will continue to grow for Canada. We believe that Canada will realise positive arrivals growth from India and other South East Asia markets in the months to come. Year-on-year growth of tourists from India is a testimony of that. Moreover, Air Canada’s investment will further provide momentum in this direction.

British Columbia

Q. Any comparison between India and China with respect to tourist arrival?
A. As far as the tourist arrival is concerned, China is quite ahead of India by almost five times. But, certainly India is an emerging market and has tremendous potential.

Q. Visa processing for Canada takes longer time. Have you raised the issue with the government?
A. Yes. We are monitoring visitor visa processing times very closely because we know that impacts on people’s travel decisions. Destination Canada has met with senior staff in the Government of Canada in September to flag the issue of Visa processing times. We certainly hope that working together we can find a solution soon.

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