India Tourism sees huge potential in the Canadian market. India Tourism’s new online specialized training program, coming in the next couple of months, will help travel agents get up to speed on this dynamic destination, says Anil Oraw, director, India Tourism, Toronto.
1) What are the latest visitors figures to India from the Canadian market?
Oraw: The visitor count from Canada in 2013 was 255,222 and we expect to see growth for 2014 once those figures have been compiled. It is also expected that 2015 will show more positive growth, since there are many activities and incentives promoting India.
2) The VFR market to India is very strong from Canada. What new and emerging markets are you seeing out of Canada, that you hope will fuel sustained growth to India?
Oraw: Canada is the fourth largest inbound tourism source market for India (Bangladesh and Sri Lanka not included). The focus for India Tourism Toronto is to attract many more Canadians to visit, since it has huge potential for long-haul destinations. As per Stats Canada (2012), around 670,000 Canadians travelled to the Australasia region (mainland China, Hong Kong and Australia). Our efforts are to target those Canadians to visit India.
3) India is one of those rare destinations that’s on just about everyone’s ‘bucket list’. Is it exciting to have such a large potential pool of travellers and how do you convince those travellers to turn their dream of seeing India into reality?
Oraw: It’s true. Since I arrived here about 10 months back, I have come across innumerable people who want to visit India. India has emerged as one of the major economies of the world and by virtue of that there are many visits to India by foreign dignitaries and business people. Because of that, and because of the development of infrastructures, improvement of services, political stability, conducive weather year-round, affordability, etc., it is the right time for travellers to materialize their dream. The forthcoming direct air connectivity between Toronto and New Delhi will help ensure long-term sustainability of tourism growth.
4) What new projects are you working on that will help agents learn more about India?
Oraw: India Tourism Toronto regularly organizes Incredible India interactive evenings/workshops. During the last 10 months India Tourism Toronto must have reached out to about 300 travel agents/tour operators in one-to-one interactions. India Tourism will also have an online specialized training program for agents within the next two to three months. Fam trips are also being planned for travel agents/media to experience first-hand knowledge of India Tourism’s products and services.
5) What’s your own favourite destination in India?
Oraw: India is a subcontinent rather than a country. To single out a favourite destination would be unjustified to others. However if we measure with the availability of infrastructure facilities, I would rank a few major destinations: Jaipur, Agra, Gulmarg (winter skiing), Kumarakum (Kerala), Goa, Varanasi and the whole North Eastern Region, which is still unexplored.