ITM15 Bangalore, Indian Travel Mission
I have been to my fair share of tourism events and promotions both domestic and international (mainly China), but for my first trade mission in India, held just recently, I was chartering into unknown territory.
India is set to overtake China as the most populous country on the planet, so having the chance to promote a new product to a market of this potential was a very exciting opportunity. However, as I had always been ‘China focused’ due to my specific expertise, I began to wonder about the possible challenges and differences in business culture I would come across.
I am pleased to say that these worries would prove to be unfounded, as due to the amazing organizational efforts of Tourism Australia, the event was smooth, stress-free and extremely valuable in a business sense.
One thing that struck out the most to me was the quality of the appointments. Almost all of the people I conducted appointments with were either business owners, directors or decision makers of some kind, which as anyone in this game knows is extremely important.
Tourism Australia have been working hard to train agents to be specialists in selling Australia, and now there are currently more than 2,114 travel agents/consultants from 1,462 travel agencies throughout the main markets in India who are qualified Aussie Specialists*.
The ‘ITM15 Bangalore’ was composed of two days of frenzied of appointment schedules in which I showcased Australian skydive product to over 75 agents. However, the real value came in the form of networking sessions which varied from an informal ‘board shorts and flip-flops’ pool party to a more formal suit and jacket evening. It was at these events where I learnt of the great warmth and welcoming nature of our Indian counterparts. Sometimes, events such as these can be a little stiff and cold, but I have never experienced anything such as the relaxed, fun attitude of this event, which leads to an environment open to discussion and getting to know people.
I have been told that in this market, friends and relationships come first, and the business comes (maybe) after. If this recent mission is anything to go by, I feel like I have already made friends to last a lifetime and looking to the future, with China and India being two of the biggest economies in the world, I see it as an investment in the long term future to be involved in these massive emerging and dynamic markets!
* Source – Tourism Australia
(Stay tuned for more on India…)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mitchell Callander is a freelance Chinese marketing consultant specializing in the Asian markets, specifically China, Japan, Korea and India. He speaks fluent mandarin, conversational Japanese and is developing an online social media based channel completely in mandarin, called Strange Rice TV.