Destination Canada, Canada's national tourism organisation to promote tourism, is all set to welcome close to 280,000 Indian travellers in 2018. In 2017, the destination had witnessed 18 per cent growth with 254,000 Indians travelling to Canada.
Speaking about the growth, Carl Vaz, CEO & Strategy Director, Destination Canada, India GSA said, “Canada is a long-haul destination for Indians, which is why we only look at the upmarket leisure segment and the luxury segment from India market. We are not in the competitive set of the mass destinations. We are more into the luxury and the high end markets. In 2017, we welcomed 254,000 Indians from January to December with a growth rate of 18 per cent. In 2018, we hope to close the year with around 280,000 which will again give us a double digit growth.”
Indian tourists spend on an average close to $1,500 per trip to Canada. The most common trip purpose for Indian travellers to Canada is to visit friends and family in 2017 and this segment was up an estimated 45 per cent over 2016.
Destination Canada has signed an MoU with the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) to conduct knowledge sessions at 10 destinations including; Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kochi, Kolkata, Trivandrum, Mumbai, Indore, Jaipur and New Delhi.
Throwing light on India strategy, Vaz said, “We have signed a MoU with TAAI in India to organise 10 city roadshow in India. Though this tie up, we intend on training or acclimatising around 700 TAAI members. In Mumbai alone, we had over 120 members. We have also tied up with UBM which organise SATTE exhibition to organise a four series webinars, we have already completed three of them, and these were very successful.”
According to report published on the Government of Canada website, Canada is set to expand its biometrics collection program and is now taking steps to prepare for December 31, 2018, when nationals from countries in Asia, Asia Pacific and the Americas will need to give their biometrics (fingerprints and a photo) when applying for a visitor visa, study or work permit, or for permanent residence. Even India will be included under this phase.
Speaking about the new biometric introduction Vaz, “We will be training and sensitising the travel trade in the end of this year and January.”
The destination is now looking to promote winter tourism in India and also promote the destination during the popular Indian festivals. “The passenger traffic to Canada goes up in May to July. As a strategy, we are now marketing the festival season including, Diwali, Durga Puja, and other Indian festivals. We have also started marketing the winter wonderland concept in India which is the Christmas, New Year as well as January and February. This covers the honeymoon segment and the snow skiing segment,” Vaz said.
The destination is also coming up with a MICE strategy for the India market. He said, “We have a subsidiary division for MICE and we are in the process of formulating a strategy for India and will be announced next year.”