OTM Grows Bigger and Better Every Year


Mumbai: OTM 2018, touted as the largest travel trade show in the entire Asia-Pacific region, turned out to be a record edition with over 10,000 trade visitors attending the event. More than 1000 sellers and around 300 hosted buyers participated in the three-day show in Mumbai, which was inaugurated by K J Alphons, Minister of State for Tourism (I/C), Government of India in the presence of Jaykumar Rawal, Minister of Tourism, Government of Maharashtra.

Speaking on the occasion, Minister Alphons said: “I am happy to know that OTM has emerged as the leading travel trade show in the Asia-Pacific region. India has a 5,000-year-old civilisation and a huge heritage for the world to explore. The country has innumerable tourist destinations from the Himalayas in the North to the backwaters in the South. India also offers spiritual tourism and cultural heritage with its widely spread civilisation in the sub-continent. The Ministry of Tourism is working to bring in confidence building mechanisms to establish India as a peaceful and safe destination.”

Indians take some 22 million trips abroad and more than a billion within the country. Mumbai is the largest source market of domestic and outbound travel for Leisure, Business, MICE and Weddings. It serves literally as the ‘gateway of India’ to the largest number of travellers going abroad from other cities and towns in Western and Southern India. “Our efforts are to showcase the treasures of tourism that we possess in Mumbai, Maharashtra and the rest of the country,” said Minister Jaykumar Rawal.

National Tourist Organisations of Turkey, Greece, Indonesia, Thailand, Egypt, Nepal, China, Kenya, Maldives, Rwanda, Macao, Bangladesh, Korea, Japan, Bhutan, Tanzania, Romania, Cambodia, Palestine, Cyprus, Croatia, New Zealand, Fiji, Botswana, Finland, Estonia and Lithuania had set up colourful country pavilions, along with a large number of their hotels, attractions and operators from every destination. India’s leading tour operator Cox & Kings, which was the Knowledge Partner, conducted destination workshops at the event. “OTM is the premier show in Western India that is growing faster and it gives us an opportunity to engage with the B2B market,” said Karan Anand, Head-Relationships, Cox & Kings.

“Turkish exhibitors wait for OTM. Western India is a very promising source market for Turkey, contributing 35 per cent of all Indian arrivals, most of it through the gateway city of Mumbai. This makes our participation in OTM Mumbai all the more important,” said Ozgur Ayturk, Coordinator of Asia and Pacific in the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism. “This year we have promoted ourselves as a MICE as well as Wedding and Film destination,” said Demetrios A Theophylactou, High Commissioner of Cyprus in Mumbai.

Said Ismail A Hamid, Egyptian Tourism Counsellor in Egyptian Tourism Office, based in Mumbai: “We participate at OTM every year and consider this to be a very important event. Special workshops on Wedding and Films are good signs that the show is evolving every year.”

OTM also hosted travel technology tracks, with sessions on innovative travel tech solutions, panel discussions with industry’s thought-leaders, innovation showcase, and digital skill development, in collaboration with TravHQ. Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Dubai, Germany, Hong Kong, Iran, Kazakhstan, Laos, Latvia, Malaysia, Oman, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Seychelles, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, United Kingdom, USA, Uzbekistan and Vietnam were represented through private operators at the event.

Indian destinations had put up as much strong a presence in OTM as their international counterparts. Tourism departments of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu & Kashmir, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Goa, Gujarat, Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Punjab, Andaman & Nicobar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chandigarh and Tripura set up enchanting state pavilions, with operators from their respective states present. Kerala Tourism was not present this time though some tour operators and hotel properties from Kerala had set up stalls. “J&K gets the maximum number of tourists from the states of Gujarat followed by Mumbai, both in Western India. So, both the tourism board and the private suppliers in the region eagerly wait for OTM,” said Mahmood Shah, Director, Kashmir Tourism.

To promote the relatively unexplored North East region of India, a special session was organised under the aegis of the Ministry Of Development Of North Eastern Region (DoNER) and North East Tourism Development Council (NETDC). Speaking on the special focus session on promoting film tourism in the North East, C K Das, Member, North Eastern Council (NEC) said: “North Eastern states are poised to harness the potential of film-induced tourism with focus on single window clearance mechanism, ease of processing approvals and development of film infrastructure. It is imperative to promote the plethora of beautiful locations, local talent and availability of infrastructure and services to attract filmmakers from all over the world.”

According to Sanjiv Agarwal, CEO, Fairfest Media Ltd., sixty per cent of the travel show is all about India. “About 22 million Indians travel abroad, but there is immense scope to boost inbound travel in India. We should also look forward to bring more tourists from the rest of the world to India and use this as an opportunity to explore the exotic tourists destinations in our country,” he said.

Destination Reporter was one among the media partners of OTM.


Group Participation Award – Himachal Pradesh Tourism, Jammu & Kashmir Tourism, Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Ltd. and Tourism Council of Bhutan

Most Popular Filming Destination Award –Maharashthra Tourism Development Corporation

Most Promising New Destination Award (International) – Palestine Ministry of Tourism & Antiquities, Rwanda High Commission, Croatian National Tourist Board; Travel Designer & Horizon Manor (Qatar) and ACF Tourism (Iran)

Most Promising New Destination Award (Domestic) – Arunachal Pradesh Tourism and The Enjoy City

Best Information Dissemination & Education Award – Cox & Kings Ltd.

Most Promising Destination Award – National Tourist Union, Russia