Two combined marketing and research events assemble Canadian sellers and buyers from two giant emerging markets.
The tourism gold rush is underway in China and India, two of the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC)’s most promising emerging international markets. CTC’s research points to the rapidly increasing middle-income population shared by both countries and how these consumers are eager to explore new countries and experiences.
To strengthen Canada’s position in the tourism marketplace, CTC recently held two in-depth marketing and research events in China and India. India’s strong outbound travel market combined with a growing number of independent Chinese travellers provided great opportunities for smaller businesses to get a feel for these markets for the first time.
Focus Canada 2012-India got the ball rolling at the Park Hyatt Goa Resort and Spa, March 13-15. Reps from 50 Canadian seller organizations met with 54 Indian buyers over three days of intense activity, first learning and then sharing over two days of 2,217 B2B speed-dating-style appointments.
Day one comprised a full debriefing and market overview, starting with a warm welcome from Stewart Beck, Canadian High Commissioner to India. Three back-to-back briefings and presentations got attendees’ full attention: first, on visas and the preferred agent program (by Sidney Frank, Immigration Program Manager, Citizenship and Immigration Canada), then research on the outbound India market (by Nielsen) and finally how to do business with travel agents in India (by Karan Anand, Cox & Kings head of relationships and supplier management).
There were also informal networking events in the evenings, including dinners hosted by CTC and provincial partners.
Partnering CTC for both the India and China events were Travel Alberta, Tourism British Columbia, Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation, Tourisme Québec, Calgary Stampede and WestJet. Greg Klassen, CTC senior vice-president, Marketing Strategy and Communications, and Derek Galpin, CTC managing director, China and India, provided CTC’s leadership.
There was a short pause for breath before the spotlight moved to Focus Canada 2012-China, held March 19-21 at the Legendale Hotel, Beijing. The event followed the successful formula used in Goa: a first day of briefings for buyers and sellers, followed by two days of 3,282 quickfire one-to-one meetings, with a chance for more relaxed business networking in the evenings. More than 170 delegates from 62 Canadian companies came to Beijing to take part, where they were met by 68 Chinese travel agents and media peeps.
Learning more to get a competitive edge also plays a big part in these markets. CTC held a training seminar Feb. 29 and March 1, just before the Guangzhou International Travel Fair, and then two more in Beijing and Shanghai just after the Focus event, with 180 Chinese delegates attending each one. CTC-China had a Calgary Stampede-themed booth at the Travel Fair, with Calgary, AB-based performers including Harry the Horse, the Calgary Stampede Indian Princess and the Keister Family Fiddlers showing off Canada to visitors from the Pearl River Delta area.