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Belgium on a tourism mission

The Wallonia region located in southern Belgium has decided to tap the potential that Indian outbound offers and engaged the travel trade in four cities through the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) network.

Hazel Jain

The Wallonia Foreign Trade, along with Wallonia Export-Investment Agency (AWEX) recently took a tourism mission to four metro cities of India — Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai and Delhi. The Consulate General of Belgium, AWEX and Brussels Capital Region (BIE), in association with Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), organised the event for its members. Nine delegates from different tourism attractions from Brussels and Wallonia (Southern Belgium) presented their unique tourist attractions to the TAAI members. The delegation also visited top tour operators in Mumbai and New Delhi.

Peter Huyghebaert, Consul General, AWEX Team; Emmanuelle Timmermans, Trade and Investment Commissioner and Dominique Andre from Wallonia Belgium Tourism, joined Ellona Pereira, India Director, Visit Brussels, for the roadshow. Also, part of the delegation were Albert Joris from Caves of Han, Catherine Vuidar from Euro Space Center, Rodolphe Brohée from Durbuy, Malati Dasi and Martin Gurvich from Radhadesh Castle, Jérôme Aussems from Ardennes Incoming (DMC) and Steven Truyman from Hey Belgium (DMC).

Dominique Andre, Overseas Markets Manager, Wallonia Belgium Tourism, who is responsible for the Asia market that includes India, China and Japan, said, “India is a new market for us. Most Indian travellers now know Brussels and Antwerp. However, there is potential for nature, activities and more experiences too. Besides, we are witnessing the MiCE segment booming in India and it is important to visit towns as well as villages and have activities.”

“We hope to return next year with a bigger delegation and more activities. We decided to conduct the roadshow with TAAI because it makes it easier to reach out to the trade. Making the first contact is difficult and it is better to team up with local associations. Our plan this time is to understand the Indian market and its requirements. Next year, we will conduct Fams for agents, and then take a call on whether we need to have a person here in India,” adds Andre.

Pereira says, “Brussels has recently entered the Indian market and we are creating awareness on Brussels for foreign independent travellers (FITs), luxury as well as MiCE segments. The agents are keen and we hope to get more groups from India.”


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