Kochi: Sending out a strong message that tourism in the flood-battered Kerala will be back on the rails in double-quick time, Kerala Travel Mart (KTM),  India’s largest  tourism sector conclave of stake-holders from across the world, will hold its biennial meet in Kochi from September 27 to 30.

Being held in the wake of the devastating floods that rampaged through large swathes of the coastal state, the tenth edition of KTM will focus on measures that would lead to a strong resurgence of tourism, which is the mainstay of Kerala’s economy.

The inaugural session of the four-day event, being organised by the KTM Society in association with the State Tourism Department, will be held at Grand Hyatt, Bolgatty, on September 27.

In the next three days, a series of Buyer-Seller Meets, seminars and policy deliberations will take place at Samudrika and Sagara Convention Centre at the Willingdon Island.

“The response to this edition of KTM has been overwhelming with 395 overseas buyers and 1,095 domestic buyers having registered as participants. The complete list of participants for the Buyer-Seller meet will be released on September 10,” said Baby Mathew, President, KTM Society.

As in its previous editions, KTM will serve as a strong platform to showcase its time-tested as well as new products of Kerala and establish firm business links by bringing together internationally reputed buyers and sellers and tour operators under one roof.

The new products launched by the state government like the Malabar River Cruise project, focusing on nine rivers in north Kerala, will be showcased before the delegates.

Major topics to be deliberated at the seminars will include enhancing the green cover of the state, rainwater harvesting and reduction of the use of plastic. In its previous edition, the key themes of discussion included promotion of organic products, attaining energy efficiency and garbage management.

Tourism in Kerala has started recovering fast from the grim blow dealt by the calamitous floods. Traffic to major destinations across the state has resumed and bookings ahead of the peak season have picked up.

The upcoming edition of KTM is intended to send a strong signal to the world that the state has the resilience and an indomitable spirit to take in its stride any adverse challenge and move forward.  The event will send this message to the world through the delegates from as many as 73 countries arriving to attend it.

Meticulous plans have been made for the accommodation of the participants, with over a 1,000 rooms having been booked in top hotels in the city.

“Special arrangements have also been made for the large media contingent reaching the city to cover the event, including fully hosted tours to prime destinations across the state from September 23 to 27. As many as 20 media persons from abroad and 26 from different parts of the country will be reporting the event from the spot,” said Abraham George, Former President and expert member of the National Tourism Advisory Committee (NTAC).

Separate tour packages for the business delegates have also been planned, the itinerary of which includes top Ayurvedic spas.

The strength of KTM is its public- private sector collaboration and it also serves as a forum for meaningful interactions with international buyers and sellers and clinching business deals by tour operators, hotels, resorts, home stays, houseboats, Ayurveda retreats and art and cultural institutions.

As part of its social responsibility mission, KTM Society has set up a Task Force for flood relief and rehabilitation efforts by bringing together 28 organisations  from the tourism sector.

The taskforce has pledged its total support to the state government’s mission of rebuilding the infrastructure severely battered by the floods. It has also mobilised several teams to actively participate in cleaning up works, restoration of roads and mobilisation of relief material for the affected people.

By Manoj

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