Tourism representative offices of various countries in India have been using online training programmes to educate the trade about the destination. Country heads of different NTOs in India share their views.
Vishal Bhatia, Country Manager—Tourism, India, VisitBritain
Our online training programme ‘BritAgent’ was launched in India in 2011 and within a few years, we had over 500 registered BritAgents in India. Currently, we have just over 800 of them. Now, we’re targeting to cross 1000 in the next few months. We keep updating existing modules and introducing new ones in line with our product development and distribution strategy. The key to having a successful online destination training programme is to keep it dynamic and ensuring active engagement with the existing database.
Ignacio Ducasse, Director & Tourism Counsellor, Tourism Office of Spain.
Our free e-learning Spain 360º Expert programme has recently been upgraded to a new platform. It allows travel trade professionals to get an in-depth analysis about Spain and its diversity. We have attained over 1260 registrations by September 2017 out of which 350 agents have successfully completed the course. Our platform allows agents to monitor their progress and refer to the lessons that have been completed. With enhanced learning of new destinations through elearning programmes, agents will have specialised knowledge to sell new destinations.
Steven Dixon, Regional Manager, South & South-East Asia Tourism New Zealand
Tourism New Zealand recently introduced the improved version of its 100% Pure New Zealand Specialist Programme. This programme aims at enhancing travel sellers’ knowledge of NZ while presenting an opportunity to increase their sales and referrals. As India is a priority market for us, it is important for us to constantly educate our Indian trade partners with product knowledge and new developments taking place in New Zealand.
SanJeet Tourism Attaché, Philippines Tourism Marketing Office India
We have an online training programme called Philippines Specialist Programme for agents in India. It is quite successful with the Indian market. It’s an 8 to 9 module programme, which gives an insight to the agents on destination’s food, places to see, night life, etc. I believe that both online training and traditional training approaches have their own advantages and their own set of target audience. We are entering into the digital age and everything is just a click away. These online training programmes are a smart way to reach the right target audience at their own convenience.
Alpa Jani. Acting Hub Head, MEISEA, South African Tourism
Our SA Specialist Programme assists travel agents to become experts on South Africa. These programmes are essential to market the diverse offerings of South Africa and cater to all travel segments and requirements, because a thorough understanding of the destination and its product offering allows agents to bring well-tailored packages to the table. Online training is a useful tool as agents can browse and learn at their convenience.
Isra Stapanaseth, Director of Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), New Delhi
The Amazing Thailand Online Training Program 2017 conducted from January-April turned out to be a huge success. We received 1417 registrations and 208 travel agents were qualified with 80 per cent marks. Travel trade partners are well educated about the travel assets of Thailand. There were five online training modules comprising new products and destinations which might be new to them. These online programmes definitely help us reach to the front-liners. So we are planning to have a similar online training for wedding planners as well this year.
Nishant Kashikar, Country Manager Tourism Australia
Our Aussie Specialist Programme is meant to build our travel partners’ knowledge levels. Once an agent is familiar with the destination, they have the confidence to sell it. Based on the positive word of mouth that they ultimately get from their customers, the agents can keep promoting that destination. It’s all inter-related and hence, a lot of impetus is on training and education. We are constantly upgrading the programme.