New Delhi, Apr.8: “God’s Own Country”-Kerala-will host India’s largest tourism-related buyers-sellers mart in September this year, with the objective of raising the state’s market share in tourism by an additional Rs.5000 crores.
Revealing this, Abraham George, President of Kerala Travel Mart 2014 (KTM 2014) and Managing Director of Insight Tours and Travels, said the eighth edition of KTM would be held between September 18 and 20 at the Samudrika Convention Centre of the Cochin Port Trust, which is located on picturesque Willingdon Island.
George further revealed that the focus of this year’s KTM would be to project Kerala as an ideal destination for weddings, honeymoons and MICE (Meetings, Incentives,Conferences and Exhibitions) Tourism.
“KTM 2014 will project Kerala an ideal destination for weddings, honeymoons and MICE (Meetings, Incentives,Conferences and Exhibitions) Tourism. At the mart, we will have destination wedding themes. These emerging segments are being viewed very seriously by tourist destinations, and KTM intends to increase Kerala’s market share by an additional 5000 crores,” George said.
The president of KTM 2014 further said that focus would also be trained on reaching out to new markets like the U.S., Australia, Austria, Brazil, Chile, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Israel,Japan, Norway, Poland,South Africa and Sweden.
Innovative tourism products like the village life experience and culture tours would also be showcased at the event , he added.
“Only 10 per cent of the national inbound tourist traffic reaches Kerala, and KTM, has set itself a target of 15 per cent, with arrivals from new and emerging markets,” George said.
George said he expected between 300 to 450 international buyers and 900 to 1000 domestic buyers to attend KTM 2014, besides 300 to 450 sellers.
Appealing to the media to generate awareness about the event, George said KTM 2014 is determined to target only quality buyers, and had no intention of competing with other Indian states.
On the issue of promoting MICE Tourism, George said there is no plan to project Kerala as a budget tourism destination, and also pointed out that the state government has reduced luxury tax on convention centres and auditoriums from 20 to 10 percent to make participation at such venues more popular.
He described the holding of the event as a partnership with the Department of Tourism of the Kerala Government, and that their goal was to bring together business entrepreneurs of tourism products and services of Kerala onto a single platform.
Describing the KTM model as very attractive and successful one over the past 13 years, George said the overwhelming response of both national and foreign buyers is a reflection of the steady escalation of a variety of tourism products in the state.
This year, he said, would see a unique component in the form of a “Hosted Buyer Programme”, which would see buyers interacting with exhibitors of their choice and more appointment-based one-to-one sessions.
George concluded by saying that so far 361 foreign buyers and 1,136 domestic buyers have already registered for participation in the event, and added that registrations will close by July 15, 2014. Ashok Dikshit (ANI)