Published on : Monday, February 27, 2017
Exhibitors from a record number of 60 countries showcased their destinations at OTM 2017 from February 21-23 at the Bombay Convention & Exhibition Centre. This was by far the largest number of countries participating in any trade show in the country.
1,343 exhibitors from 60 countries earned OTM 2017 the distinction of the largest and most international trade show in the country.
1134 travel organisations from 60 Countries exhibited at OTM 2017 including National and State Tourism Organisations, Hotels, Airlines, Destination Marketing Companies and other suppliers serving leisure as well as business travel and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, Events) markets.
Over 10,000 travel trade visitors attended the show in addition to more than 500 buyers from travel trade and corporate sectors who had qualified for special hosting privileges. International buyers from countries like Kuwait, New Zealand, Philippines, Russia and Thailand were also extended similar hosting hospitality.
Who’s who from the global travel industry assembled at OTM 2017. The dignitaries present at the inaugural session included Sohan Singh Thandal, Minister of Tourism, Government of Punjab; I Gde Pitana, Deputy Tourism Minister for Overseas Promotion of Indonesia; H.E. Mohammed K Al Mheiri, Undersecretary- Ministry of Economy and Adviser to the Minister for Tourism; H.E. Dr Ahmed Al Banna, UAE Ambassador to India; H.E. Demetrios A Theophylactou, High Commissioner, Cyprus High Commission; Dimitrios Tryfonopoulos, Secretary General, Greek National Tourism Organisation; Datuk Seri Mirza Mohammad Taiyab, Director General, Tourism Malaysia; H.E. Erdal Sabri Ergen, Consul General, Consulate General of Turkey in Mumbai; Ismail A Hamid, Egyptian Tourism Counsellor, Egyptian Tourism Office; Guldeep Singh Sahni, President, Outbound Tour Operators Association of India.
The Tourism Minister of Greece, Elena Kountoura graced the show with her presence on second day. H.E. Panos Kalogeropoulos, Ambassador of Greece to India and the Tourism Minister took a tour of the show and interacted with various other participants. This was the first time that Greece Tourism participated at OTM 2017 with a large delegation including private sector operators.
The UAE Ministry of Economy organised a national Visit UAE pavilion for the second year in a row, featuring various tourism departments and agencies from the UAE. The delegation was led by H.E. Mohammed K Al Mheiri who informed that the UAE has broadened its presence to include the various government bodies responsible for tourism in all the emirates as well as private sector representatives involved in tourism.
Premium Partner Country of OTM 2017, Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism has been participating at OTM for the last seven years with a large number of tour operators. Gülara Alkaçır, Culture & Tourism Officer was extremely satisfied with the event turnout and expects many more tourists from India.
Besides showcasing their myriad tourism attractions, Indonesia Tourism presented an array of cultural offerings during the show. Representatives from Indonesia’s travel and tourism industry under the umbrella of The Ministry of Tourism, Republic of Indonesia discussed their India-specific tourism promotion plans during OTM 2017.
First-time participants at OTM like Bahrain, Cambodia, Cyprus, Greece, Ho Chi Minh City provided variety of experiences to the valued travel trade partners and Indian travellers.
Mumbai is the largest source market for leisure and MICE travel in India. It accounts for some 60% of the outbound travel market in India, considering it is the most popular gateway for the entire West and South India. OTM provides the right platform for national and international tourism boards and private operators to tap this market in the most comprehensive and cost-effective way.
A brand-new addition at OTM 2017 was the co-located BLTM- Business & Luxury Travel Mart, where qualified hosted buyers met the sellers by appointments.
Indian citizens whether travelling abroad or within the country are much coveted and one of the fastest growing markets for leisure as well as business travel segments.
According to the data published by India’s Ministry of Tourism, 20.38 million Indians took foreign trips out of India in 2015 (11.1% higher than 2014). The number of domestic trips within India was a whopping 1432 million (11.6% higher than in 2014). In contrast, the number of foreign tourist arrival was 8.03 million (4.05% higher than in 2014). OTM caters to all of these markets.
UNWTO estimates the number of Indian outbound travellers will grow to approximately 50 million in 2020, contributing $28 billion in expenditure.
To tap into this lucrative market, OTM 2017 has participants from 60 countries. These included NTOs from Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Dubai, Egypt, Fiji, Fujairah, Greece, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Macao, Malaysia, Maldives, Nepal, Philippines, Ras Al Khaimah, Romania, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sharjah, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Vietnam and country representations from Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Ecuador, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Mauritius, Mongolia, Morocco, Russia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Tanzania, United Kingdom, USA, etc.
Participation from India was equally aggressive as their international counterparts. This included Tourism departments along with private operators from Andaman & Nicobar, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Odisha, Punjab, Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal and private sector participation from Daman & Diu, Delhi, Goa, Haryana, Puducherry, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana in a big way. The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India had a strong presence at the show.
More than 100 corporate buyers from top companies like Canara HSBC, L’Oreal India Pvt Ltd, Capgemini, Reliance Infrastructure Ltd, Khaitan & Co, Hdfc Standard Life Insurance Company Ltd, Mahindra Finance, Godrej & Boyce Mfg Co Ltd, Larsen & Toubro, Deloitte Shared Services India Llp, Wockhardt Ltd, Ambuja Cements Ltd, Birla Sun Life Insurance Company Ltd, Rajkumar Hirani Films, Ericsson India Pvt Ltd, etc had pre-scheduled over 2000 appointments for meeting sellers of their choice at the show. OTM is the only big travel trade show in the country to have the participation of corporate buyers on this scale.
The two Buyer-Seller Speed Networking sessions were a huge hit, designed to facilitate onsite meeting appointments with the buyers to visit the sellers. Visit UAE Lounge was made available for the speed networking sessions.
In another first, the MICE Club was launched at OTM, with an objective to facilitate networking and education opportunities among the community of buyers and sellers from Business Travel and MICE segments.
Globally, travel trade fairs are considered important annual opportunities for face-to-face meetings and networking among buyers and sellers. Traditionally, visitors at these fairs walk the show and meet the sellers of their interest. The advent of online technologies has not left this field untouched either. Increasingly, the buyers and sellers pre-schedule appointments online for meetings at the show.
OTM 2017 had deployed a state-of-the-art online meeting diary system provided by EventsAir based in Australia. It is an advanced system that facilitated matchmaking and appointments between the Buyers and Sellers, and received over 5000 meeting requests prior to the show.
OTM 2017 was supported by Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI), Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), Association of Domestic Tour Operators of India (ADTOI), Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI), Network of Indian MICE Agents (NIMA), IATA Agents Association of India (IAAI), Maharashtra Tour Operators Association (MTOA), Travel Agents Association of Pune (TAAP), Travel Agents Association of Nashik (TAAN), South Gujarat Association of Travel Agents (SATA), SKAL International, Enterprising Travel Agent’s Association (ETAA), etc.
In addition to buying and selling opportunities on the show floor, exhibitors from various countries and states also made colourful cultural presentations. There was an equally interesting line up of workshops and presentations conducted on the sidelines of the mart.
Featuring destinations through films has been a traditionally successful strategy for many destinations. Mumbai being one of the biggest hubs of film production in the world, OTM partnered with The Film and TV Producers Guild of India and Globe Hoppers to organise “Shoot-at-Site”, an exclusive workshop on the opening day of OTM focused on promoting tourism through films shoots, facilitating ease-of-doing business, and making film-shooting friendly policies by the government. The workshop was attended by international and state tourism boards and leading film production companies, and was also supported by the Motion Pictures Association of America – India office, and Ernst & Young.
Destination Weddings is one of the fastest growing segments in tourism. A workshop on ‘Destination Indian Weddings’ was curated with the help of Globe Hoppers. Some of the leading Wedding Planners from Mumbai and Delhi attended the session along with the tourism boards.
Travel Blogger Speed-Networking Session was conducted during the sidelines of OTM providing a chance to meet top 45 travel bloggers from the country and build on their prominent role in the travel marketing ecosystem.
Fairfest was the first mover in India in the space of travel marts. It was established in 1989. Its OTM is now India’s largest travel trade show on the basis of countries represented, as well as the number of sellers and buyers.
Sanjiv Agarwal, Chairman & CEO, Fairfest Media Ltd (organiser of OTM), said, “We are excited about the record number of 60 countries participating in OTM 2017, which is the largest ever in any trade show in India. We have seen growth and consolidation of our lead as the largest travel fair in every other parameter including area of exhibition halls rented, number of sellers and buyers. It also shows resilience of travel market despite slowdowns.”
OTM 2018 will be held from January 23-25 at the Bombay Exhibition & Convention Centre.