Canada is celebrating its 150th anniversary of Confederation this year. Bardish Chagger, Minister of Small Business and Tourism in Canada and Nadir Patel, HighCommissioner for Canada to India, talk about tapping business travellers
Destination Canada along with NadirPatel, High Commissioner of Canadato India, organised a round table meeting with Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commonsand Minister of Small Business and Tourism inCanada, for the travel trade dignitaries as wellas the media. During the meet, Chagger talkedabout growth opportunities and easing of visaissuance for Indians travelling to Canada andCanada’s MICE potential.
Tourism Canada’s crown marketing agencyDestination Canada, has continuously soughtmarkets of interest, including India, to spreadawareness about the signature experiences thatthe country has to offer. Seeing tourism as anoption to invite more visitors, Chagger says, “Thisyear is Canada’s 150th birthday, we also celebratethe 35th anniversary of the Canadian Charter ofRights and Freedoms. This is an opportunity toreally build a stronger relationship between Indiaand Canada. We see tourism as an economicdriver and will be working very closely with thehigh commissioner to see this initiative through.”
The country boasts of 10 provinces, threeterritories, and a plethora of tourist attractionsthat would bode well with any kind of traveller.
CONNECTIONS FROM INDIA
Both governments shall leave no stone unturnedin ensuring suitable connectivity. Elaboratingfurther, Chagger says, “On July 1, 2017, AirCanada will be launching another direct flightfrom Mumbai to Toronto. This is to achieve abetter response to the needs of India.”To further promote each tourism vertical, theministry will be showcasing culinary tourism,indigenous tourism, and more such segments,beside business and leisure activities. Chaggersays that Destination Canada and her team willbe working closely so that people know moreabout them.
ENHANCING BUSINESS TRAVEL
“There are many people who come from thebusiness world for conferences, conventions,trade shows, and so forth. We need to ensurethat they are able to have that leisure experienceand be aware of the signature experiences, be it a festival, an event, a concert or a great restaurant,”she says.When it comes to experiences, Canadahas seamlessopportunities, be it CapilanoSuspension Bridge in Vancouver, edge walkof CN tower, Fogo Island, or the northernlights in Yukon. “Whether you are coming forleisure, family or business, we want to ensurethat we are going to give you a reason to come,”Chagger says.
TAPPING THE POTENTIAL
The relations between India and Canadahave always been alive and well, but there ismore potential that still remains untapped,feels Chagger. “It’s a sentiment that is shared notonly by Canadians, but, by Indians as well. Thatis why we want to ensure that we are listeningand engaging and having those conversations. It’sa very important market to me,personally as wellas professionally.When it comes to small and medium-sizedbusiness, we start up very well and we needthem to scale up and consider expert markets.India is a market where we want to continue tocreate those opportunities. Canada is a tradingnation so I know we will continue to build onthose opportunities. I know that it will be in thebest interests of both countries.”
UNITY IN DIVERSITY
Canada’s terrain is as diverse as that of India’s,ensuring that a wide range of experiences aredelivered to travellers. Further enunciating, Patelsays, “From hiking to skiing, from flat lands toprairies the geography is so diverse that it can betailored in accordance with your interests.”
Canada has always been more than willing towelcome Indian guests. An extremelyhospitablecountry, its authorities have set up processingtimelines and systems that ensure visa processingis convenient and efficient at the same time. Tothis, Patel adds, “Over the last couple of yearsthe number of applicants and visitors has beenincreasing dramatically, with over 40 per centincrease year-on-year. This year those numbersare growing at a rapid pace with a combination oftourism, VFRs, and business. We want people tovisit and explore a wide array of tourism elementsin Canada. Our processes are efficient; we acceptapplications online.