Travel industry reps got a chance to learn more about tourism opportunities in India this week, during an interactive information session in Mississauga.
India-based travel agency/tour operator Services International Ltd., in partnership with India Tourism Toronto, presented the event at The Host restaurant on Monday night, giving guests a chance to learn more about travel in the country as well as the opportunity to sample traditional Indian fare. Akhilesh Mishra, Consul General of India in Toronto, was among the event’s special guests.
Fitting for a dinner event, Services International director Pramod Singla told PAX that the one of the top questions he receives from agents is regarding the country’s cuisine. While perhaps more spicy than what Western palettes are accustomed to (options such as Chinese cuisine are also offered in most hotel buffets, he said), Singla explained to agents at the event that the heat of Indian dishes can actually cool down diners in the country’s climate, which can climb to more than 40 degrees in parts of the country between April and September.
“People say the food is very hot and spicy, but once you eat it, you realize it’s not so hot and is actually very tasty,” Singla said.
Safety is also of top concern for agents, said Singla, explaining that anyone travelling with Services International is in good hands.
“The operation in India is very well organized,” he said. “Upon arrival, a client is monitored 24 hours, so there’s no question of any problems.”
Following a presentation detailing India’s myriad travel opportunities – ranging from visits to well-known landmarks like the Taj Mahal to spiritual pilgrimages and wildlife adventures – travel reps took part in an informal Q & A session with the event’s organizers, including inquiries about weather, vaccinations (which Singla said should include a malaria shot, depending on where someone is travelling in India) and entry into other neighbouring countries like Nepal and China - which requires a multiple-entry visa that should be obtained prior to travel, he said.
As for first-time visitors, Singla recommended an itinerary of 14 days, allowing a traveller to see as much of the country’s top destinations and attractions as possible, while planting the seeds for a return trip.
“Anyone who comes back from India happy will definitely go back there at some point in their life,” he said.
Photo – Pramod Singla, director, Services International Ltd.; Akhilesh Mishra, Consul General of India in Toronto; director Anil Oraw and tourist information officer Sidharth Bodwal of India Tourism Toronto.