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Kerala Travel Mart begins at Kochi on Sep 27

Published in Travel & Tourism Tuesday, 25 September 2018 18:13



•1,600 buyers from 66 countries, 325 sellers in 400 stalls

•CM to open Sep 27-30 Kochi event featuring business meets, seminars, exhibitions

The country’s biggest tourism event is to set off in Kochi on Thursday, as the tenth edition of the four-day Kerala Travel Mart (KTM) will bring entrepreneurs across India and abroad to the unique tourism products and services of the state.

To be inaugurated by Chief Minister PinarayiVijayan, the September 27-30 festival gains added significance this time. For, the organisers see it as an opportunity to showcase before the world the ability of Kerala and its people to overcome a calamity as grave as last month’s floods and landslides.

At Grand Hyatt on Thursday evening, the CM will declare open the KTM, which will feature around 1,600 buyers, one-third of them from foreign nations. Informing this, organisers said on Tuesday that KTM-2018 will have 400 stalls in this edition. “Also, there is an impressive rise in the buyers: 125 per cent increase in the foreign buyers, 75 per cent in domestic,” KTM-2018 president Baby Mathew told reporters in Kochi.

This only shows Kerala Tourism’s potential to weather any adverse situation, added KTM secretary Jose Pradeep at the press conference that was also addressed by the KTM Society treasurer  G Gopinathan and Abraham George, expert member of the National Tourism Advisory Council.

Thursday’s inaugural ceremony will start at 6 pm with cultural programmes that focus on Malabar as the core theme. The subsequent function will have Union Tourism Minister of State K J Alphons as the chief guest. Kerala Tourism Minister KadakampallySurendran will preside.

The other participants at the opening ceremony will be Prof K V Thomas, MP, Padma awardee industrialist  M A Yusuff Ali who will be the guest of honour, Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) chairman M Vijayakumar, Kerala Tourism secretary Ms Rani George IAS, Tourism director  P BalaKiran and KTM Society president Baby Mathew.

On the three days from September 28, the KTM will host exhibitions and business meets at the Samudrika and Sagara Convention Centres in Willingdon Island. Besides, there will be four seminars where experts will discuss Kerala’s tourism sector in detail.

The 1,635 buyers at the mart are top functionaries of firms in tourism industry within the country and outside, organisers of the biennial event said. Those from abroad total 545: buyers from 66 countries including the US, Russia, Japan, China, Australia and Britain. The domestic buyers total 1,090.

As for sellers, there will be 325 of them in 400-odd stalls. Mediapersons from within the country and abroad will total 50.

A symposium on September 27 will be on ‘Tourism: An Engine for Economic Growth’. The panelists will be Ms Rani George, hotelier Mr Samir MC and aviation services entrepreneur Mr E M Najeeb.

The next day’s forenoon seminar, on ‘Changing Trends in Travel and Tourism’, will be addressed by KTDC former chairperson MrCherian Philip who is coordinator of Nava Kerala initiative, senior bureaucrat MrSumanBilla and hotelier Mr Zia Siddiqui.

The topic for the afternoon symposium is ‘Impact of Responsible Tourism in Kerala’. The speakers are Dr V Venu, principal secretary (culture), RT state coordinator MrRupesh Kumar and hotelier Mr Jose Dominic.

The final day’s seminar, on ‘New Products and Interests in Kerala’, will see participation from key representatives of projects such as Muziris heritage project, Jatayu adventure centre and homestays. On Sunday, the public will be permitted free entry, while the KTM business meets at the Willingdon Island are only for delegates who need to register in advance, organisers informed.

The highlight of the event will be the opportunities it provides for world-class buyers and sellers to share the platform so as to interact and promote businesses that will give a fresh impetus to the industry in Kerala. Public-private participation is a key feature of KTM-2018 that will have its delegates from the fields of travel and tour, hotels and resorts, home-stay, houseboat, ayurvedacentres and cultural organisations.

The subjects of focus are rainwater conservation, lessening the use of plastic and increasing greenery vis-à-vis the previous (2016) edition’s total waste management, organic farming, efficient energy use and spread of use of domestic products.

Tourism, which is an industry with an annual turnover of Rs 34,000 crore in Kerala, provides employment to 25 lakh people in the state. Cruise tourism will be a new entrant in the field, KTM organisers said.



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