Kerala Travel Mart 2014 Concludes
The eighth edition of Kerala Travel Mart Concluded with, the tourism industry giving indications of having grabbed, more than expected business from confirmed buyers who arrived from around the world. The three day long mart, which is the largest B2B summit in India, broke all past records in terms of arrivals of buyers.
The Travel Mart hosted all together 861 domestic buyers and 241 international buyers. "There were an expected 30,000 buyer seller appointments lined up for the mart, but the figures crossed forty thousand business sittings between the potential buyers and sellers." said Mr. Abraham George President Kerala Travel Mart 2014.
The Sellers included Adventure Tour Operators, Ayurveda Centres, Ayurvedic Resorts, Hotels, Homestays, Amusement Park, Convention Centres, Hotel Management Consultants, Houseboats, Resorts, speciality Hospitals, Museums, Travel & Tour Operators and more.
While UK, Germany, France, Malaysia, and USA topped the buyer arrival countries, newer markets like Singapore, Poland, Romania, Czech Republic, and Brazil had their buyers for the meet. All together, 45 countries had their presence in the mart.
The three- day Travel Mart witnessed hectic schedules comprising of seminars, discussions and brain storming among the tourism industry fraternity of Kerala and from around the globe. Some of the key issues faced by the tourism industry came up for discussion and solid suggestions were forwarded by the experts.
· The governments in the state and the centre were urged to keep clear and long term policies to enhance the sustainable growth of the tourism industry. "While proposing an innovative PPP model development plan for the tourism sector, the meet appealed to the governments to initiate long term progressive outlook for the way ahead for Kerala tourism. " said Mr. Anish Kumar, Secretary, Kerala Travel Mart 2014
· Experts applauded Kerala’s responsible tourism model being successfully implemented in key tourism destinations in the state. The industry urged the stake holders to take urgent measures to roll out of such responsible tourism projects in other selected destinations in the state immediately.
Majority of the opinion makers of the tourism industry stressed the need for promoting responsible tourism models with assured participation from the local community. The meet also wanted to design responsible tourism projects ensuring inclusive growth beneficial to the relevant community.
· Further ahead in responsible tourism, Mr. Suman Billa Secretary Kerala tourism who headed a seminar on " Kerala tourism way ahead" outlined the need for drafting a road map for empowering the relevant community towards their social and economic fulfilment. While citing the examples of successful inclusion of local artists, artisans, agriculture producers and self-help groups in ensuring the responsible participation, the Mart expressed the need to explore ways to widen the relevant community spread.
· Travel industry overwhelmingly welcomed the prestigious spice route project which connect 31 countries and featuring heritage important destinations and experiences. The Kerala tourism stall at the mart exhibition showcased and could convince the meticulous planning behind the product. Individual destination experiences like heritage rich Muziris along the spice route evoked immense curiosity among the buyers. The travel mart listed out products like cruise tourism as a potential area in the coming future.
· Expressing the commitment towards furthering the responsible tourism projects, tourism industry announced clean up Kerala initiative.
· The Kerala Travel Mart 2014 made a major turning point by bringing focus on wide spread product innovations to suit newer markets and target groups. The Mart consolidated the existing possibilities of Kerala’s product features and evolved focused products to show case in front of the potential buyers.
Village tourism was positioned as a prime focus product in Kerala Travel Mart this time and derived huge response from the visiting buyers. The venue of the Mart was set in a village ambience with artists and artisans demonstrating their activities. The idea was to create the feel of a real village and share lifestyle experiences.
The Kerala Travel Mart 2014 proved successful in projecting Kerala as a viable Wedding Destination . The visiting buyers had a clear understanding of our professional wedding plan capabilities to serve a memorable wedding function for high net worth travelers.
Similar to wedding tourism in hosting group arrivals to Kerala, international MICE has been identified as a key potential product type during the mart.
The second day of the mart witnessed quality debate on Ayurveda as a product in the changing market . experts brought the attention to quality packages in Ayurveda for affluent travelers. Many suggestions and experiences were shared in the areas of researches and accreditations in the field of Ayurveda.
Medical tourism , was identified as a highlight product during the deliberations held at the Mart.
· The Mart witnessed serious concerns at the new excise policy announced by the government and urged the policy makers to adopt positive steps in evolving a tourism friendly liquor policy in the state. The tourism fraternity expressed sincere hope at the assurance given by the chief minister during his inaugural speech of the Mart, in considering the concerns of the tourism industry regarding the excise policy.
Mr. Girish Shankar IAS, Additional Secretary, who visited the Mart and exchanged ideas with his counter parts in Kerala and organisers of the Travel Mart, expressed happiness at the quality conduct of the event.
The three day Mart is being followed by post mart tours for the buyers who will make use of the opportunity to visit destinations across Kerala.After a fruitful gathering of the who is who of the tourism industry in the world, the participants would return with a promise to meet again in 2016 with a renewed resolve to take the tourism industry in Kerala to newer heights.