The 11th edition of the Kerala Travel Mart (KTM) will be held at Kochi in September next year, as India’s largest congregation of tourism industry will see stakeholders across the country and abroad seek new ways to promote business.

Announcing the event at a press conference here on Thursday, Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran said KTM 2020 will aim at exploring new markets for Champions Boat League (CBL), adventure tourism and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions) along with finding excellent global buyers.  

“KTM 2020 will be a four-day event starting on September 24, with two days packed with sessions involving international buyers, MICE operators and corporate houses. The remaining two days will be for those involved in domestic tourism,” the Minister said. The afternoon session on the final day will be open to the general public.

The biennial conclave, being organised by the KTM Society with support from the Kerala Government’s Department of Tourism, will see increased number of quality buyers from countries that have the potential to boost the state’s travel industry. Further, KTM 2020 aims to go a step ahead in buyer selection, stall allocation and buyer-seller appointment.

Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran addressing the media

The venue will be Sagara and Samudrika convention centres of Cochin Port Trust in Willingdon Island.

The focus on finding major buyers from across the globe comes in continued pursuit of new kind of tourists at the national and international levels. KTM 2020 will hold presentations with this in mind, considering that the mart’s 2018 edition could lend fresh energy to Kerala’s tourism and help it regain ground after the year’s flood.

KTM 2020 will accord importance to the Kerala Tourism’s pioneering CBL modelled on IPL cricket. The three-month event being held at different venues in six districts of the coastal state is currently halfway through. The 12-round CBL, with its final slated for November 23, has already wooed 10 lakh spectators.

Adventure tourism will be another priority area of KTM 2020. Kerala aims to boost its new products in activities such as trekking, mountaineering, river rafting, paragliding andoff-roading.

Commenting on the tremendous support of the government to KTM, Baby Mathew Somatheeram, President, KTM Society, said unlike in the past, the four-day schedule has been fixed for providing a platform for buyers and sellers to hold effective interactions. 

A third segment to be promoted will be MICE tourism. Kerala is becoming a major destination for international conclaves, which aid MICE. Recently, the India Conventions Promotion Bureau opened a Kerala chapter.

The 2018 edition of the KTM, which was inaugurated by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan at the Grand Hyatt in Kochi’s Bolgatty, had Responsible Tourism and Malabar Tourism as the core themes. With public-private participation as a key feature, that KTM had its delegates from the fields of travel and tour, hotels and resorts, home-stay, houseboat, ayurveda centres and cultural organisations.

KTM 2018 had 1,305 buyers, a third of them from foreign nations. Those from abroad totalled 442: buyers from 58 countries including the US, Russia, Japan, China, Australia and Britain. The domestic buyers totalled 863. The sellers had set up 313 stalls in an expansive venue of 75,000 square feet, showcasing a wide array of products and services and drawing encouraging response from the general public as well.

The focal subjects were rainwater conservation, lessening the use of plastic and increasing greenery.

The ninth edition in 2016 primarily focused on total waste management, organic farming, efficient consumption of energy and wider use of domestic products. It had 638 domestic buyers and 238 from 57 other countries.

By Manoj

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