The 12th edition of Kerala Travel Mart (KTM-2024) will be held on four days from September 26 next year at Kochi, showcasing Kerala’s strength in the tourism sector before a global audience.
India’s largest tourism and hospitality conclave that draws delegates from across the world, KTM will further strengthen Kerala Tourism which is already on a high growth trajectory, Tourism Minister P.A. Mohamed Riyas, told a press conference here today, in the presence of office-bearers of KTM Society, the organisers of the event.
The inaugural ceremony of the flagship event will be followed by three days of sessions at the Sagara and Samudrika convention centres in Willingdon Island on September 27, 28 and 29, 2024.
The run-up to KTM-2024 will see a pre-mart tour from September 22 to 26, involving media persons, vloggers and influencers. There will also be a five-day post-mart tour across Kerala from September 30 for select buyers of KTM-2024.
The buyers at the event will be from the USA, UK, Russia, Middle East, South Africa and other European countries, including Scandinavian, organisers revealed. Decades of outflow of Malayalis to other countries has been enabling the residents of those places to visit Kerala on knowing more about the state, they said.
While the 2000-constituted KTM Society is the country’s biggest organisation in the travel and tourism segment, the biennial meet is billed as Asia’s largest tourism event with stronger international representation.
Riyas said Kerala Tourism (KT) has made a fast recovery from the setback inflicted by Covid-19 and it is making a great stride now. During the first half of this year, the state registered record in the arrival of domestic tourists and also made significant progress in foreign tourists’ footfall.
“Along with the globally-recognised tourism destinations in the state, the new tourism products and initiatives being implemented by KT have elicited good response from India and abroad. New tourism models like Keravan Kerala, Wedding Destination, Responsible Tourism activities, identifying unexplored tourism centres (Destination Challenge), Health-Wellness tourism and Adventure Tourism are being implemented with the active participation of local bodies and private players,” he noted.
Riyas informed that ‘Kireedom’ bridge will be the first project to be completed under the Cinema Tourism initiative and the MoU for Heli Tourism will be inked in December this year.
According to the Minister, Kerala has been following a tourism approach that gives great emphasis on sustainable practices, woman-friendly activities and ensuring benefits for local community.
Riyas said the new tourism policy is catering to the welfare of stakeholders and capable of immensely contributing and strengthening tourism industry. He revealed that the government is willing to accept and implement new ideas from travel and hospitality industry.
Noting that KTM 2024 will ramp up the tourism sector and industry, Riyas extended the support of the government for the run-up activities to the event.
The business sessions of KTM 2024 will be held on September 27, 28 and 29. Public can visit the expo on September 29.
The 12th KTM will accord special focus to Kerala as a wedding destination. Authorities see an overexposure of tourist spots outside of the state as an opportunity to woo travellers to Kerala. Its abundant beaches, backwaters, forests, tea-gardens and the general lush greenery make God’s Own Country an ideal tourist destination amid the cultural and culinary richness besides strong infrastructure and transportation facilities including air, water, rail and road connectivity.
Besides its emphasis on promoting Responsible Tourism, the upcoming KTM will strive to boost MICE (meetings, industries, conferences and exhibitions) tourism. In addition to hosting large events in metros such as Kochi, leisure destinations are also equipped to host variety MICE events. The G20 working group’s meet at the scenic Kumarakom near Kottayam in March-April this year was an example to the state’s USP in this segment.
Cruise tourism is another area where the 12th edition of KTM is giving focus. Authorities are optimistic about roping in potential buyers from this segment as well.
Today’s press meet was addressed by Department of Tourism Secretary K. Biju, Kerala Tourism Director P.B. Nooh, Tourism Additional Director (General) S Prem Krishnan and Kerala Tourism Development Corporation Managing Director Sikha Surendran, besides KTM Society President Jose Pradeep and Secretary S. Swaminathan. Also present were Immediate Past President Baby Mathew Somatheeram and Past President EM Najeeb.
The 11th KTM in 2022 facilitated more than 55,000 business interactions in its three days. The buyers totalled 1,134 (234 of them from abroad), while seller stalls totalled 325.