Kerala Travel Mart is an event organised by the Kerala Travel Mart Society that focuses to bring the Tourism Products of Kerala into the International arena, attracting more tourists and increasing the tourism business. KTM is India’s one of the most significant marketing events where buyers, sellers and media persons from domestic and international markets meet and network for better business. KTM 2022 was the 11th edition and was held between 5th to 8th May at Kochi, Kerala. The categories of the exhibitors in the KTM were Adventure Tour Operators, Airport Authorities, Amusement Parks, Tourism and Hotel Associations, Ayurveda Center, Ayurvedic Resort, Convention Center, Cultural Art Center, Event Management Companies, Homestays, Hotels, Hotel Management Consultants, Houseboats, Museum, Resorts, Service Villas, Tour Operators, Tourism Academic Institutions, Tourist Transport Operators, Travel Media and many more. Business delegates from 69 countries and 25 Indian states.
The main highlighted destinations of Kerala state has divided into three zones i.e
North Kerala: Bekal forts and beaches of Kasargod, Islands and the forts of Kannur, Kozhikode, caves and wildlife sanctuaries of Wayanad, spice Market of Malappuram district, etc.
Central Kerala: Dams and gardens of Palakkad, Fort Kochi, Kaladi, Museums of Ernakulam, Guruvayoor Temple, Muziris, and Athirapally of Thrissur, Munnar & Thekkady of Idukki district, etc.
South Kerala: Thiruvananthapuram, Padmanabhapuram Palace, Vijhimham, Kovalam, Varkala, Azhimala, Jatayu Nature Park of Kollam, Sabrimala Temple of Pathanamthitta District, Backwaters of Alappuzha (Allepy) and Kottayam, etc.
The highlights of the KTM 2022:
Day 1 (5th May 2022)
· Snake Boat Race Show at Grand Hyatt, Bolgatty, Kochi
· Inauguration of the 11th Edition of Kerala Travel Mart by Kerala Tourism Officials in the august presence of other dignitaries.
· Governor of Kerala, Shri Arif Mohammad Khan: “A meaningful engagement among the Indian states is significant for sustainable and inclusive tourism development. This is the right time to further strengthen the cooperation and coordination among the states in the tourism sector for the benefit of everyone,”
o Cultural and Folk Dances of Kerala including Kathakali, Mohiniattam, Kalaripayattu, etc.
o Inaugural Dinner
Day 2 (6th May 2022)
· Inauguration of the Mart at Samudrika Convention Centre, Willingdon Island, Kochi
· Business Sessions 1
· A water-filled rectangular trench giving a hands-on feel of a canal with a floating bamboo raft (changadam) welcomes the visitors at the ongoing Kerala Travel Mart (KTM), highlighting the spirit of the state’s famed Responsible Tourism (RT) that emphasises ecological conservation and community development. Three ‘Chundan Vallam’ i.e Snake boats were welcoming the business delegates at the stall of Kerala Tourism and it symbolises the significance of the Boat race or Champion Boat League in Kerala.
· Karavan Kerala
o The company showcased three feature-laden caravans custom-made by Bharat Benz and Isuzu Motors.
o The State’s Caravan Tourism Policy pledges a set of highly attractive incentives to caravan operators and developers of caravan parks. Kerala’s first caravan park recently opened at Vagamon in the Idukki district.
o The Bharat Benz’s caravan, which accommodates four persons, has all comforts like a power-managed sofa, two double-beds, a toilet, bathroom, kitchen, inverter, and generator
· Seminar Session
In the seminar session of Day 2, speakers discussed ethnic tourism and concluded that the Post COVID travel industry must cater to ethical tourism. Ethical tourism is set to define post-Covid travel, necessitating all stakeholders to provide customised visitor services that sustain nature and support local communities.
· Networking Dinner at Le Meridien, Kochi
Day 3 (7th May 2022)
· Business Session & Seminar Session
· In a business session, the expert said that Kerala’s niche tourism has a global appeal. Ranging from riveting adventure tourism activities to heritage-preserving and community-centric Responsible Tourism (RT), Kerala’s tourism has immense potential to create a lasting impact on visitors from across the globe. To overcome this tough situation of crisis in Sri Lanka, their travel agents are looking at Kerala tourism as a home.
· In a Seminar session, Principal Secretary Shri Suman Billa and a Director, Technical Operations and Silk Road Development at UNWTO said UN Goals must not upset regional development. He added we should never forget the domestic traveller, Indian tourists spend 23 billion dollars a year on trips to foreign countries. Authorities can initiate ways to ensure that a chunk of this money is channeled towards developing tourism products within India, especially Kerala. If Covid-19 quickened the use of new technologies in the tourism sector, the novel products should be of appeal to youngsters, who are more into experiential travel. The channels of publicity are spreading through social media, smart destinations should flourish in a stronger way.
Day 4 (8th May 2022)
· Business Session and the mart open for the public
· Valedictory Session + Concluding Session
· In a session titled ‘Kerala: Attractions Beyond Nature’, Former Joint Director of Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, Mr. Manmohan Sadana was felicitated by KTM Society President Baby Mathew and Secretary Jose Pradeep. The honour came for Mr. Sadana’s novel ‘Healing Strings’, which narrates the tale of a Japanese music teacher and an Indian student. The book was released in Japan earlier.
· Chief Secretary Dr. V.P. Joy said that Kerala Travel Mart is a springboard to post-Covid tourism. He hails the four-day mart as a catalyst to bring back travellers to the state
The concluding day of Kerala Travel Mart (KTM) saw a heavy rush of visitors at Sagara and Samudrika convention centers in Willingdon Island, Kochi on Sunday.
For the Delegates, Pre and Post-event familiarisation tours were organised by the Kerala Travel Mart Society. Tourism professionals from across the globe participated in this famous tourism networking session. We all will make efforts to market and promote the tourism products of Kerala within India and off course across the globe.