Kerala Travel Mart (KTM), which concluded in Kochi earlier this month, has sent the message across the world that tourism activities are back in full swing in Kerala, besides achieving the target of hosting 55,000 business-meets during the four-day conclave.
As the country’s largest tourism sector buyer-seller meet, the four-dayeventhas been able to reinvigorate the state’s pandemic-hit tourism sector to attract more domestic and foreign visitors to the state, said K S Srinivas, Principal Secretary Tourism, while addressing a press meet along with the office-bearers of KTM Society here today.
The fruitful interactions at the KTM that brought buyers and sellers from around the word together infused afresh optimism in the state’s renewed efforts to attract more domestic and foreign tourists, Srinivas said.
The international business-to-business meets that Kerala Tourism conducted recently will be able to boost the arrival of foreign tourists, including the visitors from the Middle East, he said. Noting that the state’s Caravan Tourism initiative ‘Keravan Kerala’ is a brilliant idea to lure visitors, he patted the KTM organisers for showcasing it prominently atits pavilion.
By setting a platform for direct interactions, KTM has been able to convince the world that Kerala is ready to welcome visitors as a safe destination of diverse attractions, said V R Krishna Teja, Director, Kerala Tourism.
KTM 2022 facilitated 49,000 online interactions between buyers and sellers, while 6,000 allied meetings also took place, said KTM Society President Baby Mathew Somatheeram.
The total figure was significantly higher than the mart’s previous edition (2018), when buyer-seller meets cumulated close to 30,000, he said. (A transcontinental spread of the novel coronavirus forced the cancellation of the 2020 KTM.)
While the total number of buyers came around 1,200, which includes 897 from domestic market, their number from abroad (59 nations) totalled 234. Even as the buyer-seller meets went as pre-decided, more such interactions happened in the three days (May 6, 7 and 8). QR code facilities made it such one-on-ones easy.
The sellers at the KTM went for marketing tactics focusing on rejuvenating domestic tourism in the next two years. No other place in the world held an event as big as KTM after the slide in the pandemic. The mart gave the world the right impression that Kerala is set to receive travellers from the rest of the country and abroad, said Baby Mathew.
A well-conceived tour programme KTM conducted after the event benefited buyers and media-persons immensely. The sightseeing enabled the state’s famed as well as less-explored tourism destinations to fetch widespread publicity in the national and global press. With Malabar tourism given special focus this time around, places in upstate Kasaragod, Kannur, Wayanad and Kozhikode districts gifted unforgettable experience to the KTM-sponsored travellers. The guests were flown northward from Kochi to the Kannur airport, helping them realise the significance of the new airport that has been operational near hilly Mattannur since end-2018.
Besides two post-KTM tours were also arranged — to central and south Kerala. Overall, 500 delegates from other states of the country and abroad became part of the tourism-promotion packages.
KTM 2022 was inaugurated on May 5 evening by Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan at Grand Hyatt in Bolgatty, in the presence of top industrialist M.A. Yusuff Ali. The rest of the three days’ proceedings were held in the Sagara and Samudrika Convention Centres at Willingdon Island. The paperless event in 1.5 lakh square-feet space featured 325 stalls and four seminars by experts. Also, KTM 2022 displayed three caravans as part of promoting Kerala Tourism’s latest product wooing travellers with customised packages.
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