Akansha Pandey | New Delhi
The Ministry of Tourism (MoT) announced today that the maiden edition of India Tourism Mart (ITM) will be held from September 16 to 18, 2018 at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi, in association with Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality (FAITH), states and union territories. The India Convention Promotion Board (ICPB) will coordinate the complete event. A dedicated website has been launched for the event: http://www.indiatourismmart.com.
The event is majorly focussing on increasing inbound travellers, a segment which generated $27 billion of foreign exchange for India in the last calendar year from 101.77 lakh inbound travellers growing at 15.6% over 2016. MoT eyes doubling these inbound arrivals to 20 million in the next three years i.e. by end of 2020 and soar the foreign exchange earnings to $55 billion. Thus, both old and new foreign tour operators upbeat on promoting India as a travel destination will be flying down from strategic markets such as USA, Europe, China, Japan, Russia, North America, Latin America, Africa, Asia, CIS countries, etc., said KJ Alphons, Union Tourism Minister.
Approximately 350 foreign buyers including opinion makers, press delegates and bloggers from all five continents will be hosted at the three-day event, “aimed at generating the right kind of interest and awareness about the travel and tourism products/experiences in the Indian market,” stated Rashmi Verma, Union Secretary Tourism. State Tourism Boards along with tourism stakeholders will conduct B2B meetings with foreign buyers and assist in organising familiarisation trips for foreign trade and press.
On being questioned by ProTourism News as to how will right buyers be finalised for the event when MoT has shut down some of its overseas offices and are yet to appoint a PR agency, Verma conveyed that the eight existing overseas India Tourism offices will make the list of potential buyers which are selling India or have expressed interest in promoting it. They shall be verified and finalised by a committee which has all the Tourism/Hospitality associations so that only genuine buyers take part in the mart. She added that FAITH will assist in screening while MoT will also refer states tourism departments for their list of inbound operators.
Among the 250 exhibitor booths (expected to be increased to 350), 60-70 have already been bought over by big inbound tour operating companies. While about 150 booths will showcase domestic tourism suppliers, the rest are still on offer, added Subhash Goyal, General Secretary and Chairman, FAITH. India witnessed 1.8 billion domestic visits last year, contributing 14% to the country’s employment.
Garish Oberoi, Treasurer, FAITH and President, FHRAI exclaimed that luxury hotel brands in Delhi such as Taj, Oberoi, Leela, ITC, Shangri-La, Le Meridien, etc. also members of FHRAI, have extended wholehearted support to the event by offering 900 room nights for the foreign delegates.
The Ministry confirmed to make it an annual event and take it at par with WTM, ITB, ATM, etc.