All eyes on India’s dynamic inbound

The Great Indian Travel Bazaar, was held at the JECC Jaipur, from April 24-25, 2017. A major facilitator to Indian exhibitors, the FICCI-backed event witnessed over 10,500 transacting business opportunities that helped put India on the itineraries of global travellers. But did this year’s edition match up to its hype? We find out…

NIKHIL ANAND FROM JAIPUR

Bharat Aggarwal, Managing Director, Mansingh Hotels & Resorts

GITB provides great opportunities to smaller, upcoming individual hotels which don’t really get a chance to visit big international trade exhibitions like WTM, FITUR or ITB. They can experience the concept, network and become informed about the demands and requirements of the foreign buyers. This year at GITB we showcased Mansingh Palace in Agra, Hotel Mansingh in Jaipur, Mansingh Tower in Jaipur, Mansingh Palace in Ajmer and our latest addition WelcomHotel in Jodhpur. We received a good response from FTOs and it is encouraging to take back some important leads to work on further from this platform.

Kapil Goswamy, Managing Director, Trans India Holidays, India Travel Award winner

This was the 9th time that we participated at the GITB out of the 10 editions since its inception, which obviously goes to show that we hold it in high regards. What GITB manages to do differently is that unlike other marts, they do not invite the same set of people or people from the same companies again, thereby ensuring that the people who come here, come with fresh ideas which is just what all the exhibitors are looking for to extend their reach. Also in terms of value to the Indian destinations, this is probably the best fair that India has on offer currently. This year at GITB we showcased more of experiential products such as heritage walks, cooking tours, things which are slightly different that the usual average Delhi, Jaipur and Agra

Shoba Mohan, Founder Partner, Rare Destinations & Experiences

Our association with GITB dates back to its inaugural year. One of the things that make us really excited to participate each year is that they actually tap into new markets. This year we’ve heard Cyprus, we’ve heard Turkey, we’ve heard Lithuania to name a few, so there are a lot of new markets that are being approached and accessed. This not only puts a huge spotlight on India but also presents a very welcoming image of us to the world. The good thing about GITB for us is the buzz that it creates. Everybody is here; it is also the end of the season so it kind of gives us the ability to gauge how the year has been and how the next year is shaping up. Hence, it is kind of a travel barometer.

Vikas Abbott, Managing Director, Vasco Travel, India Travel Award winner

GITB has really evolved as a platform and it’s a great opportunity for the industry to come together and showcase different products. The set of buyers that came this year was really good and a lot of them wanted to explore India. It’s a great platform for the industry to connect as a whole and along with that it’s a good networking exercise overall. The infrastructure and the set up too has seen great improvements over the years. Our offerings have always focused on the overall experience that we want to give out to our clients and every year we develop new ideas and try to offer something unique and out of the ordinary. Private yoga lessons, engagement of the foreign tourists with the local Indian families are some of the experiences that we had to offer this year.

Rohit Arora, Area General Manager, The Park New Delhi

We have actively participated at GITB for the last 5-6 years now and all along we’ve been convinced of it being a very rewarding platform thanks to the engagement opportunities that it provides our industry. More so with the event ensuring the presence of the foreign travel agents along with the local DMCs, it enables swift clearing of any prevailing doubts of the parties. As always we got a very opportunistic platform this year to showcase our products and offerings across all our three brands to the foreign travel agents directly and we’re hopeful of it converting into meaningful business transactions for us in the near future.

Anshul Bhargava Corporate General Manager, Ananta Udaipur

We’ve been associated with GITB for the last 7-8 years now, and this serves us more like a networking platform to engage with the FTO’s and the industry alike. Being a part of this trade industry, we do not look at this as a business opportunity that we have but rather as one of the healthiest platforms to be a part of and a total marketing exercise considering the kind of people that come here and have been coming here since its inception. One of its biggest plus points is the fact that the entire fair is strictly B2B and this makes it unlike any other fair where consumers are also invited. This year we exhibited our two properties, Ananta Udaipur and Ananta Pushkar.

Nikhil Vahi, Senior Vice President – Hospitality Operations & Development, DS Group Hospitality

This was our fourth year at GITB and for us, the fair has always been very beneficial. There were a lot of FTO’s present here which kept us really busy, to the extent that we had at times had two meetings scheduled together. We are hopeful for the interactions we’ve had to transcend into business for us. Like the previous years, we exhibited our four hotels namely – our boutique brand in Jim Corbett Park, Namah, Manu Maharani in Nainital, Crowne Plaza, Jaipur and Radisson in Guwahati. Our fifth hotel at the Kolkata airport is in project stage and hopefully we will add that to the list soon. GITB has always been really very positive and strong.

Sanjeev Ticku, Vice President–Inbound Tours, Yatra Exotic Routes

It’s a great platform for the travel industry to showcase their products and I feel year after year GITB is growing. We had a captive audience of close to 275-300 buyers to transact business over two days. It was an intense schedule where we saw nearly 36-40 appointments a day, which on any given day is a great opportunity for all of us to conduct business. This year, we had around 150 meeting here. Nowadays there is little scope for all of us with the limited monuments and places we can take our tourist to. So our prime focus this year was on transforming business into experiences so that foreign tourist remember more than just the monuments, they remember the culture and the people, they see things that are relevant and real and all of this then would help us in bringing more and more people.

Girdhar Pratap Singh, Director, Khandela Haveli

GITB is the only fair that we’ve been participating in India especially and much like before, we’ve gotten a very positive response from event this year. I feel that GITB provides such an excellent opportunity to all of us that, if we sincerely do our B2B meetings and finish them, I do not think we need too many fairs to sell our small properties. This year at GITB we showcased both our properties, Castle Khandela and Khandela Haveli and in doing so, we tried to inform all the buyers and interested parties about not just our product but also the kind of services we can provide them. This year’s edition was more organised and it had a good variety of buyers from the corporate sector to the heritage sector, buyers that cater only to FITs etc. All in all it was a very good outing for us.

Ashwani K. Goela, General Manager, Crowne Plaza Jaipur Tonk Road, India Travel Award winner

GITB is a great platform for us wherein we were able to showcase our hotel. The last three GITBs have taken place at JECC, which is right next to our hotel. We were able to showcase to all the foreign tour operators and the DMCs our hotel, our services and its facilities. It gave us the opportunity to personally meet up with them and let them know about IHG. I think each year the number of buyers are only increasing and the good part about how FICCI is organising it is that they are getting fresh set of buyers every year. Also, the list of the buyers they shared with us, had representation from them and not of the deputies that they had sent, which shows they share the same seriousness as us in transacting business.

Pariva Rustagi, Regional Director of Sales – India, Hilton Hotels & Resorts

GITB this year was a lot more organised than its previous editions. We found more flexibility coming in from the organisers at FICCI and had excellent appointments over the course of the entire GITB. We saw a lot of buyers coming in from newer markets that we did not get a chance or opportunity to interact with last year. I think the show has also grown in size by the number of hotels, DMCs and trade partners that participated at GITB this year. We showcased our hotels that formulate the Golden Triangle which is always a hot selling itinerary for India as a destination along with which we are selling 2 other leisure destination hotels, one in Goa and one in the Western Ghats. Overall we witnessed a very good response.

Rajan Sehgal, Chairman–Northern region, Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI)

GITB is the only brand which is promoting India as an inbound destination and one can compare it to ITB Berlin or WTM. The platform has evolved and is moving in the right direction, most of the efforts are put in by FICCI. Credit has to be given to the Ministry of Tourism and also to the Government of Rajasthan for their initiatives to boost inbound tourism. We can organise this show more professionally and we should invite not only the tour operators but also foreign travel writers. GITB has always been a much awaited event of the inbound tourism sector and it helps put India on the world tourism map.

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