India’s importance in global tourism is widely accepted and Canada has captured a greater share of the India long-haul outbound market over the past two years. Canada has a diverse and unique set of experiences that has helped to lure high-yield visitors amid stiff competition. Indian travelers view Canada with great interest as a new vista to explore.
With 17% of the worldâ€™s population (and a median age of 25 years), India is ranked as one of the top five countries for potential outbound travel. Its growing and affluent middle class has a desire to travel, especially to new destinations like Canada.The emerging markets of South East Asia have been a major contributor to Canadaâ€™s inbound tourist traffic. India is one of the key markets driving growth from the emerging sectors.
The figures for the past years have been indicated an encouraging upsurge in Indian arrivals to Canada. During the period Jan-Dec 2011, Canada welcomed 139,213 Indian visitors, a rise of 9.1% over the previous year.
In 2012, we continue to see growth in numbers to Canada.
Question 2: What is the marketing strategy of Canada Tourism in India and what segments are your mainly targeting?
India is a high end niche market seeking luxury travel (up to 3 weeks). Mumbai and Delhi are the main traffic producers but growth is seen from all major cities as we expand our sales network to Tier II & III cities.With a vision to promote Canada as a premier four-season destination, CTC has adopted an innovative marketing mix targeted at the urban middle class and above society of India. Every year since our inception we have been adding new strategies to our existing marketing plan. Like, we introduced winter holidays through select travel-agent partners for the first time in 2011. This produced a year-on-year uptick in numbers during the winter months: up 25% in November and up 29% in December. We have continued the strategy in 2012 as well.
Also, realizing the importance of E-marketing in India, we launched a consumer campaign in collaboration with our media and trade partners to grow interest in Canada. Similarly, social-media platforms and interactive games were also incorporated to spread the word.CTC continues to send regular newsletters to the consumer & trade. We are also growing our social-networking platform. Agents have been engaging visitors on their websites with contests, quizzes and other such initiatives, building awareness of Canada as a destination.Since market launch in 2009, we have increased awareness of Canada in Mumbai and New Delhi as well as other cities. Now virtually all leading tour operators in India carry Canada standalone tour products.
Question 3: How has been the agent response to the Destination Specialist Program and the B2B interactive event – Focus Canada?
The Canada Specialist Program (CSP) is the Canadian Tourism Commissionâ€™s (CTC) greatest tool to educate and engage the Trade. The CSP is an interactive modular training program that allows travel trade to become Specialists. It is a great success amongst Travel Trade in India.
The Program provides in-depth knowledge about the destination with 8 modules covering the entire country. It ensures customer relevancy and differentiates Canada for tour operators and travel agents engaged in selling the country. By completing this program, the agents learn about travel in Canada interactively, earn an exclusive sales accreditation, have access to bespoke sales tools and reduced travel rates, and have their contact details posted on our national consumer web site.
The training modules are designed to give specialist knowledge and the edge to boost sales to Canada.
The Program was developed to have more and more Canada Specialists which will enable the agents and Tour operators to send their clients to Canada for the sheer number of extraordinary experiences theyâ€™ll find there.
With over 3100 active users, we are continuing to promote the Program in 2012 and 2013 with adding incentives. We are targeting all agents & Tour operators selling Canada to be experts in selling the destination.
Our accredited agent base is growing daily throughout the world as CSP has become a desired industry credential.
Question 4: What are the parameters your look for while engaging with outbound tour operators in India?
The CTC has been in India for 3 years and has developed good relations with the Trade, both the out bound agents and Tour operators. We engage our Key Accounts in various marketing activities and invite them for CTCâ€™s events and B2B market places held throughout the year. Being trained about the destination via CTC held trainings, these agents have been and do send travelers to Canada, all 4 seasons. These agents are CSP qualified.
After capturing metropolitans of Delhi and Mumbai, we continue to expand our sales network to Tier II cities â€“ Hyderabad, Chennai, Bengaluru, Kolkatta, Ahemadabad, Pune, Lucknow & Ludhiana.
Mr. Romit Theophilus, Managing Director Airplus Travel Services Pvt. Ltd has been associated with the Travel Trade for the last decade. One of his most important roles has been as the Director Sales and Marketing, GNTO, India. Mr. Theophilus who was the youngest head for the German Tourism Board Officeâ€™s across the globe, has spearheaded several campaigns and initiatives to make destination Germany an undoubted vacation haunt for the discerning Indian traveller. The Germany India Pool Association established in 2008 by him is a leading example of a successful collaboration aimed at creating a brand name for destination Germany in India.
Question 1: How important is the Indian market for German Tourism and how do you rate the Indian Market as compared to other South East Asian markets?
The Indian Market is one of the fastest growing markets for Germany in the South East Asian region. In the past few years we have seen an upsurge in the number of indian travelers to Germany. Indians have always travelled to Germany for Business however in the past few years we have noticed a large increase in the number of Indian travelers travelling to Germany for Leisure too. Whatâ€™s interesting is that , Germany is second only to UK in terms of visitor overnights from India, which makes it the second most favored destination from India. In terms of statistics, Germany has received
401548 overnights from India from Jan- Aug 2012 a growth of 10.6 % over the same period last year.
Question 2: What is the marketing strategy of German Tourism in India and what segments are you mainly targeting?
In the years since our inception The German National Tourist Officeâ€™s strategy for the Indian market goal has been to edify the Indian Travel Trade and consumers alike on Destination Germany. And to further interact with the Indian travel Trade to understand the needs of the Indian Tour Operators and their clients better, so we may customize our product to suit the Indian Market. We did this via various workshops, joint marketing with Tour operators and an intensive sales strategy. Our core focus so far has been Family travelers, honeymooners, MICE and young travelers seeking adventure holidays. What possibly sets Germany apart from most destinations and makes it so lucrative is the affordability it offers by helping stretch the value for each Cent spent.
The GNTO has followed a Theme based marketing approach in India. Our main theme for the year 2012 was to facilitate MICE travel to Germany and we have noticed an increase in the number of incentive groups to our destination especially the cities of Berlin and Hamburg. Our marketing theme for the year 2013 is Youth travel and 200 yrs of celebrating fascinating the brother Grimm fairytales. Most Indians would be surprised to know that all the fascinating fairytales that we have heard of since our childhood actually originate from Germany where you even have castles dedicated to these characters along the scenic German Fairytale route. Whatâ€™s also interesting is the new Germany top 100 application that has been introduced, this free App is readily downloadable onto any android smart phone giving essential information on the top sights in Germany with essential information such as reaching the destination, driving instructions, top discounts and offers available in the cities etc.
Question 3: How has been the interaction with outbound tour operators in India and how is German Tourism engaging with the tour operators?
Our Interaction with The Indian Tour Operators has been a very satisfactory and informative one. We have received enormous support from the operators in India in all our promotions and workshops. Further, we have been engaging the Outbound operators in India via various workshops, intensive destination training programs, informative and interesting Study tours. Further our joint marketing promotions with several trade partners has seen a positive response amongst the Indian Traveler.
Question 4: How has been the response to various industry events conducted by German Tourism in India? Do you feel OTOAIâ€™s efforts to identify and recognize serious outbound tour operators in India have been helpful to NTOs?
We have received an overwhelming response from our Indian trade partners at our various workshops and sales presentations and we hope this trend would continue in the future as well. The efforts of OTOAI towards streamlining and segmenting the Indian tour operators has been commendable and we hope this good work would continue in the near future.
The Indian Tour Operators could well be called the back bone of the Travel industry as they service the Indian traveler and have indeed set very high service standards the world over. With organizations such as OTOAI catering to this segment and helping bring all the operators at an equitable pedestal and providing them with accurate industry information and the latest updates on the industry it supports the travel trade in this endeavor further. Its commendable that OTOAI has been providing the industry with the latest news and information on the industry so as to educate the operators and to give them an equal pedestal to voice their opinions to the other stake holders in the trade. We believe there are several issues facing the Indian Travel Industry today and with the help of Organizations such as OTOAI we believe these issues would be identified and addressed at the earliest.