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Published on : Friday, July 29, 2016
India’s first-ever wedding destination show, Indian Wedding Travel Mart (IWTM), opens today at the Peacock Ballroom of the Pullman New Delhi Aerocity, with Mauritius, Monaco and Thailand as the lead country partners. Sri Lanka is also represented by the Vivanta by Taj, Bentota, and one of the island nation’s leading tour operators, Walkers Tours, at the Mart.
An annual, multi-city B2B platform for international wedding destination managers to engage with local wedding planners and designers, the Mart has been organised in response to the growing propensity of both high net-worth and upper middle-class families to host weddings overseas.
The significance of the business is evident from the support extended to the mart by the wedding business community in Delhi-NCR and Jaipur. As many as 35 wedding and event planners and photographers (many of them will participate in a first-of-its-kind fashion show at the gala dinner), apart from dozens of vendors, have registered for what promises to be a highly interactive B2B forum.
A co-production of well-known weddings and lifestyle blogger Arati Thapa (WeddingFables); the founder of Facebook’s largest and most vibrant community of wedding service providers, Ginny Kohli (WedWise); and acclaimed food and drinks journalist and blogger Sourish Bhattacharyya(Indian Restaurant Spy), the Mart in its inaugural year itself has attracted a number of prominent hotels and resorts from around the world.
The Mart’s hospitality partner, Pullman New Delhi Aerocity, will celebrate its association with the event by rolling out its ‘Pullman Signature Weddings’ concept and unveiling an especially commissioned canvas to underline the importance of art in marriage decor.Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Tristan Beau De Lomenie – General Manager Delegate, Pullman Novotel New Delhi Aerocity said ‘we create the perfect art inspired ambience & décor for you and you’re beloved to celebrate your most important event in life, we celebrate you’.
“Thailand hosted 400 Indian weddings last year — and the number is set to grow in 2016,” Sourish Bhattacharyya points out. “This is just one of the many numbers that point to an increasingly visible fact: the destination weddings business has come of age.” Two popular wedding destinations in Thailand — Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort, Pattaya, and Bangkok Lotus Hotel Sukhumvit, via Coco’s Catering — are represented at the Mart.
Commenting on the trend, Vasudha Sondhi, Managing Director, Outbound Marketing, one of the leading solution providers to hotel companies and tourism destinations in India, said: “Destination weddings allow the hosts to invite a controlled group of relatives and friends, and give them time and space to catch up with each other. Today, couples or families choose an iconic hotel first and then decide what else they would like to do at the destination.”
Outbound Marketing is showcasing four hotel chains — Sun International’s Sunlux Collection; Rotana Hotels; Onyx Hospitality; and Melia Hotels International — and the famous Swiss wellness destination in Heidiland, Grand Resort Bad Ragaz. The Indian hotels and resorts represented at the show are Radisson Blu MBD, Noida and Ludhiana; The Heritage Village Resort & Spa, Manesar; and the Hyatt Regency Gurgaon.
“We are delighted by the presence of the brands that are patronised by Indian families hosting weddings overseas,” says Kohli of WedWise, one of the organisers of the Mart. “And the participation of quality hotels from Ludhiana, Manesar and Gurgaon only shows that there’s no lack of variety of options.”
One of the highlights of the Mart is the two-day B2B seminar focused on two key concerns of the wedding industry: reinventing old destinations as they look for new ones and constantly thinking out of the box as their customers get more demanding.
The seminar features eminent speakers such as Isra Stapanaseth (TAT New Delhi Office); Rajeev Nangia (TRAC); Sanjay Sondhi (OM Tourism); Tristan Beau de Lomenie (Pullman New Delhi Aerocity); Parthip Thyagarajan (WeddingSutra); Divya Gurwara (Bridal Asia); Nupur Mehta Puri(Bazaar Brides); Jai Raj Gupta (Shaadi Online); wedding planners Swati Pandya Sood, Amrish Pershad and Gunjan Bansal; Jagan Lacsher (Bangkok Lotus Hotel Sukhumvit); Chandima Wickremasinghe (Vivanta by Taj, Bentota-Sri Lanka); Chinthaka Weerasinghe (Sri Lankan Airways); Sajeewa Kalambaarachchige (Walkers Tours).
“The discussions are expected to throw up issues, pointers and trends that will guide the industry emerging around the wedding destinations business,” says co-organiser and Editorial Director of WeddingFables, Arati Thapa. The Indian Wedding Travel Mart promises to be a meeting of minds as much as a showcase of destinations. It is a wedding show — but with a big difference.