The recently-concluded Kerala Travel Meet (KTM) virtual summit facilitated more than 7,000 business meets, taking major strides in overcoming the COVID-induced economic crisis in the state, and bringing back the vitality of tourism in a post-pandemic situation.
Speaking at the valedictory function, Kerala Tourism Principal Secretary Ms. Rani George IAS, said the government and the KTM society are considering a physical edition later this year. “The virtual mart went off well and created history for Kerala Tourism. Yet the importance of a physical mart cannot be ignored. The Department of Tourism and the KTM Society are working together to explore ways on holding a physical KTM this year. The KTM is the ideal stage to showcase Kerala’s post-COVID resurgence," she said.
The KTM edition, which featured 701 buyers (159 international and 542 domestic), saw participants from 38 countries. As for the business meets, 2,660 were with foreign buyers and 4,175 with domestic. Added to this were the meets through online chats, taking the total to over 50,000. The majority of the registered international buyers were from the US and the UK. The others in the category included Brazil, Germany, Spain and Canada, besides Mexico, Oman, the UAE and Australia and France.
Even as the online event emphasized domestic tourism amid a new world order, the deliberations proved that Kerala’s pre-eminence remains intact on the international travel map, pointed out KTM Society President, Mr. Baby Mathew Somatheeram.
Most of the domestic buyers were from Maharashtra, a chunk of them based in Mumbai. Delhi, Gujarat and Telangana were among the three other toppers on the list.
Earlier, Governor of Kerala Mr. Arif Mohammed Khan inaugurated the five-day virtual summit with a call to highlight domestic tourism for better collaboration among states and greater understanding between people. “A better industry-level co-ordination in hospitality and transportation and an inter-state understanding to rationalize and simplify taxes and tariffs will help in leveraging the true potential of our domestic market in tourism,” said the governor.
Dr. V. P. Joy, Chief Secretary of Kerala, chairing the ceremony, said Kerala tourism is on a revival path, involving all, right from grassroots workers to top-level functionaries. Kerala Tourism Principal Secretary Ms. Rani George IAS, remarked how new campaigns were helping the state resume tourism after the outbreak of COVID-19.
Kerala Tourism Director Mr. V. R. Krishna Teja IAS, said KTM 2021 gives deserving space to small and medium buyers, adding to the synergy of trade and tourism.