Canada targets  stampede of Indian meetings and incentive groups

Destination Canada is revving up its marketing effort to entice more Indian outbound travellers to visit Canada, a plan that targets the millennials as well as corporate business groups and incentive tours. This is in alignment with the North Star 22 agreement with the provinces, who will work in a dollar for dollar promotional spend expected to reach 100 million Canadian dollars annually. The country is aiming to achieve 25 million visitors by 2022 with an expected revenue generation of 20 billion Canadian dollars.

David F. Goldstein, president and ceo of Destination Canada, views a percentage of the emerging 100 million Indian middle class a target that is worth pursuing. Goldstein elaborated: “We have divided our marketing budget into three primary zones – the Asia Pacific that currently comprises 25 per cent, The Americas including Mexico about 45 per cent and Western Europe and India about 25 per cent.”

The high incidence of Indian travellers visiting friends and family will be retained but the effort will be to woo younger travellers for repeat visits to many attractions in Canada. Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, Montreal and Ottawa offer excellent conference facilities while many destinations in Canada offer a wide and attractive choice for incentive groups with myriad activity options. Goldstein affirmed that the effort to augment the MICE connection is expected to be through industry learning, encouraging the interface between the common industries in both countries, such as security and aerospace.

The availability of two direct flights from Delhi to Toronto and Vancouver and one from Mumbai to Toronto operated by Air Canada has closed the gap in travel time.  In a year or two, the airline may consider increasing frequency and seat capacity if there is an encouraging increase in inbound numbers.

There is a surge in the number of Indian students enrolling in Canadian universities which may have a domino effect leading to larger number of Indian visitors to Canada. The visa process has also been eased and Destination Canada is hoping to influential corporate buyers and outbound PCOs who can lead what Destination Canada hopes will be a stampede.