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Those promoting Indian tourism say Canadians can return from the Asian nation in better shape than they were when they arrived.
Apoorva Srivastava, India’s consul-general in Toronto, told a recent Toronto gathering that India is involved in the medical tourism market in a significant way, which she said should look attractive to Canadians facing long waits for medical procedures in this country.
“It’s very easy to get it (medical treatment) with top-notch doctors,” she said.
Wellness also plays a major role in tourism in India, the birthplace of yoga and home to many upscale spas.
India has frequently struggled during the pandemic but authorities say the situation has now improved dramatically, which is reflected in a changing tourism scene. For starters, international air service is rebounding, with tourism authorities suggesting that will lead to a drop in airfares.
As well, different types of tourist visas are now being permitted, including long-term ones. Electronic visas are available through: https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/tvoa.html. One-month tourist visas are now available, as are medical and business visas. Visitors don’t need to quarantine upon arrival in India, unless testing positive for COVID.
A RT-PCR test can be used by unvaccinated travellers to enter the country, with tourism authorities recommending that visitors have travel insurance that covers COVID.
Srivastava praised her homeland’s diversity, citing landscapes ranging from snow-capped Himalayan peaks to deserts.
She also noted different cuisines and climates await visitors.
The event also featured videos showcasing available outdoor pursuits, such as whitewater rafting, paragliding and skiing.
Ravi Gosain, vice-president of the Indian Association of Tour Operators, said those visiting India can experience “luxury at an affordable price.”
Gosain also said it’s very “important to respect the local customs” while exploring India.
The gathering was also told by Air Canada’s Girish Kardam that the carrier has 21 weekly flights between this country and New Delhi, with service available from Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.
Three classes of service are available, with flatbeds being available in business class.
Vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes are available for passengers.
Kardam said his airline is seeing an improving situation two years after the pandemic began.
“Air Canada has been able to come out of it and we’re very excited about the coming years,” he said.
Meanwhile, Goway Travel’s Moira Smith, who attended the Toronto gathering, said Goway has begun refocusing attention on India.
“As India relaxed travel related restrictions for fully vaccinated international travellers and also lifted the ban on scheduled international flights, we too are reworking and reimagining our India products,” she said. “Post-pandemic, we foresee increased interest for wellness- and nature-based tours, for which authentic wellness retreats and wildlife programs will be part of our promotions. Our signature product India Odyssey is also being completely revamped with more variety of destinations and experiences for all sorts of travellers.
“We certainly want to show India beyond the popular destinations, where we assist our travellers in finding what they seek in terms of their interests, like cuisine, textiles, culture, history, handicrafts, local music, architecture and much more. We are also committed to deliver safe and experiential trips to solo travellers as well as women travellers.”
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