Thiruvananthapuram: Billed as the largest gathering of tourism stakeholders in India, the 2018 edition of Kerala Travel Mart (KTM) will kick-start in Kochi on September 27, said Kadakampally Surendran, Minister for Tourism, here. The three-day conclave, organised by KTM Society in partnership with Kerala Tourism, will be held from September 28-30, 2018. Malabar Tourism promotion will be the main theme of this edition.
“The 10th edition of KTM will be inaugurated coinciding with the World Tourism Day (September 27) in Kochi. The inauguration will be followed by three-day business-to-business meetings,” the Minister said. “There is a huge scope for tourism growth in Malabar with the inauguration of the Kannur airport next year. The government is planning to implement many projects in the Malabar region, the main one being the ‘Nadithada’ tourism project that focuses on nine rivers in north Kerala,” said Surendran. “The government has already allotted Rs 38.5 crore for this project and the first phase of the project has already started,” he added.
KTM, the Minister noted, has contributed significantly to the development of tourism industry in the State. “As the Responsible Tourism (RT) campaign is progressing, KTM’s CSR initiative ‘Agenda 9’ is giving it a fresh impetus,” he said. The RT Mission has already started activities to spread its objectives to more places and make it a state-wide project instead of concentrating on a few places.
Dr. Venu V, IAS, Kerala Tourism Principal Secretary, said KTM has emerged as the most prestigious commercial intervention of Kerala Tourism. “There is more to KTM than trade exchanges. Being a wonder in the tourism sector in India, Kerala Tourism’s dynamism, energy, cooperative and brotherhood spirit comes under one umbrella in KTM,” he added. KTM is growing into a unique brand position, he noted.
The exhibition at KTM will have around 400 stalls featuring a range of products, packages and services offered by businesses and entrepreneurs. Public Private Partnership (PPP) being the main highlight of KTM, it offers a platform for stakeholders, including tour operators, hotels, resorts, home stays, houseboats, Ayurveda resorts and cultural art centres to have fruitful meetings and interactions with buyers from around the world.
Baby Mathew, KTM Society President, said that the Society had adopted the comprehensive 9-point charter, ‘Agenda 9’ during KTM 2016, which calls for measures to tackle waste management, promote organic farming, efficient use of energy and extensive use of local produce and products. Other key areas in the checklist are rain-water harvesting, reducing the use of plastics, and improving greenery.
P Bala Kiran, IAS, Tourism Director, said KTM is India’s pride and can be placed in the same league as other international tourism fairs like ITB Berlin and FITUR. “KTM is not only a venue for interaction between the national and international buyers, but also a platform to spread Kerala’s geographical space, expand tourism product bouquet and promote the state as a 365-day tourism destination,” he added.
The pre-registration of buyers will commence in January 2018 and registration for sellers by March. A total of 638 domestic buyers from various parts of India and 238 international buyers from 57 countries attended the ninth edition of the mart. Jose Pradeep, KTM Secretary; Jafar Malik, Tourism Additional Director; E M Najeeb, former President, KTM; Riyas U C, Vice President, KTM; and G Gopinath, Treasurer also were present.