It started with the lighting of the lamp.
The ceremony, a tradition in India, officially opened 'India - Come… Fall in Love,' an evening of dinner and Bollywood dancing. Hosted by Vasco Travel in coordination with India Tourism and the Consulate General of India, Toronto, the event was held to promote India as a destination to assembled tour operators and travel agents. Air Canada, which announced direct flights to Delhi with the 787 Dreamliner in 2014, was also present to promote the route, set to begin service in November 2015.
“The theme tonight is to fall in love with India, just in time for Valentine’s Day,” said Vikas Abbott, managing director for Vasco Travel, a family business of which he is the third generation. “We’re coming up with new products to incorporate the best of the once-in-a-lifetime experience that is visiting India.” Vasco Travel’s products are experience-based, with a focus on immersing the traveller in the culture of the country by offering village tours and apprentice-programs, where visitors can learn Indian arts and culinary skills.
The accessibility of India to travellers was another theme of the night, with Anil Oraw, director of India Tourism, Toronto, giving a presentation detailing how the expansive country truly has something for everyone, stating “there are 33 million people in this country waiting to fall in love with India.”
Indian Consul-General Akhilesh Mishra also gave a brief speech regarding the country’s contrasts in environments, experiences, and income, and also touched on the country’s changing visa regulations, stating that he “could offer tourists a visa with a cup of tea.”
Representing Air Canada was Vijay Bathija, vice-president commercial for Air Canada rouge, who spoke to PAXnews.com about the carrier’s upcoming non-stop flights to Delhi. “With the help of the travel agents and the tour operators, we hope to make the service a success to go from four flights a week to daily flights,” he said.
Following a meal of Indian cuisine and a dynamic performance by a young Bollywood dance troupe, the evening concluded with a draw for a round-trip, five-night stay in India, courtesy of Air Canada and Vasco Travel.
Photo: Ajay Tandon, CEO, Canadian Travel Services; Anil Oraw, director, India Tourism, Toronto; Keith Delgado, manager leisure sales - Atlantic, Air Canada; Vijay Bathija, VP commercial for Air Canada rouge; Akhilesh Mishra, Consul General of India, Toronto; Reeti Mishra; Louise Le Beau, VP, Air Canada; Vikas Abbott, managing director, Vasco Travel; and Sidharth Bodwal, tourist information officer, India Tourism, Toronto