Expect travel industry event to be a big success, says Minister

Thiruvananthapuram,  Sept 7: The ninth edition of the largest gathering of tourism stakeholders in the state, Kerala Travel Mart (KTM), will kick-start in Kochi on September 28.

“Chief Minister Shri Pinarayi Vijayan will inaugurate the event at Hotel Le Meridien on September 27, on World Tourism Day,” announced Minister for Tourism and Co-operation, Shri A.C. Moideen at a press conference here today.

The three-day trade event to be held at the Samudrika and Sagara Convention Centre, Willingdon Island, fromSeptember 28 to 30, 2016 will have representation from 57 foreign countries, including 10 first-time participants.

“The ninth edition of the biennial event will focus on ‘Responsible Tourism (RT)’ and ‘Muziris and Spice Route,” said the minister.

“We will see the biggest-ever delegate contingents from 10 traditional markets – including the US, Canada and Australia – at the KTM this time,” said the Minister. “We are confident that KTM 2016 will be a great success in showcasing Kerala to the world, strengthen the brand image of ‘God’s Own Country’ and help our state’s tourism industry grow even bigger.”

“The themes chosen for this year’s event are of particular significance. Responsible Tourism intends to promote community participation and sustainability as envisioned in our policy, while ‘Muziris and Spice Route’ will revive our legacy as a historic maritime and trade centre,” Shri Moideen added.

The new entrants to KTM include China, Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Georgia, Chile, Greece, Iran and Botswana. Domestic buyers from 20 Indian states are also participating in the event which is the country’s biggest travel show focused on a single destination.

“The tourism department will consider the suggestions put forward at the KTM meet which will help in increasing the growth rate of the industry in Kerala,” said Shri Moideen.

KTM 2016 is being organized by the Kerala Travel Mart Society in association with the Department of Tourism, Government of Kerala.

KTM is the most prestigious commercial intervention of Kerala Tourism, said Principal Secretary (Tourism) Dr. Venu V.

“Private-public partnership is the main highlight of KTM. We have support from both the state and central ministry, with the state government setting aside Rs 2 crores for KTM,” said Shri Venu.

“Responsible Tourism has been gaining much popularity in the state, especially with the Visit Kerala campaign. KTM, along with the Visit Kerala initiative, will take tourism to a wider platform,” said Tourism Director Shri U V Jose.

The exhibition at KTM will have 265 stalls featuring a range of products, packages and services offered by businesses and entrepreneurs. It offers a platform for stakeholders, including tour operators, hotels, resorts, home stays, houseboats, Ayurveda resorts and cultural art centres to have fruitful meetings and interactions with buyers from around the world.

“We aim at exhibiting new Kerala products to the world. Sellers can take part in hundreds of productive business meets,” said KTM Society President Shri Abraham George. He also added that KTM is an ideal platform to bring various buyers under one roof.

“We arrange tours for them so that they can get acquainted with Kerala products,” Shri Abraham added.

“The Mart will also project Kerala as an ideal breakaway destination for weddings and honeymoons along with its Ayurveda and leisure products, all of which are emerging segments for tourism destinations,” said President of the Confederation of Kerala Tourism Industry Shri E.M. Najeeb.

He also said that KTM aims at increasing the state’s tourism market share by an additional Rs 5,000 crore, with aggressive and systematic plan of action.

The venue will also host a series of seminars and discussion forums led by experts from the sector.

KTM Secretary Shri Jose Mathew also attended the event.

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