This year’s edition of GITB was underscored by strong representation from foreign tour operators and a large contingency of exhibitors. Attendees share a mixed feedback on the quality of buyers they encountered this year and how GITB is more of a lead generating platform.
Dhananjay Kumar, General Manager, The Suryaa Hotel
We have been participating since the inaugural edition of GITB and it has only grown year on year. If last year, we met about 120 FTOs, it increased by 10 per cent this year. We were able to meet FTOs directly from across 50 countries. GITB has been a great platform to meet FTOs directly who then book through the DMcs to understand the requirements of the market and if the product needs any development or alteration. The quality of meetings can only be judged after the show is over and actual business is discussed.
Randhir Gupta, Director of Sales India—Leisure, AccorHotels
We were able to conduct meetings with foreign tour operators at the show and also portray the growth we have recorded across the many leisure cities in India. Most of the DMCs were happy with the growing number of hotels. We met over 120 operators and I have to say that the buyers were from known companies, which had done their homework before coming. They had specific queries regarding newer products and key destinations for their markets and none of them were repeat clients.
Raman Tuli, Managing Director, Parfait Hospitality
GITB is primarily an inbound focused show which brings together all major players under one roof. At this platform, we can not only showcase our products to foreign buyers but also meet industry colleagues. Though the inbound segment of travel is declining for hotels in India, I feel that with the kind of enthusiastic participation at this year’s edition, we can see a boost to the hospitality business in India. The buyers have specific queries and one-to-one interaction has helped us understand their needs and requirements to cater the travellers from their source market better.
Rohit Arora, Area General Manager, The Park Hotels
I personally feel that there is a bit of slackness at GITB this year. I say this because first, the attendance at the show has reduced as compared to the previous year’s editions. This could be because of other travel shows taking place simultaneously and the crowd has been divided. There is a mix of the quality of buyers at the show and there has not been much change over the years. I feel GITB is a relevant show and will continue to remain so for some time in the future.
Subhashish Gupta, General Manager, Radisson Jodhpur
We were disappointed with the low attendance. However, GITB is one platform which allows us to not only showcase our products to the market but also network and discuss business with industry colleagues. It is also a place where we gather knowledge about the market trends and emerging demands amongst travellers. Every segment has had an opportunity to showcase their products from luxury to business and even the smaller properties. The quality of buyers is also mixed.
Nirmalaya Choudhury, Executive Director – Operations, JTI Group
We have been attending GITB ever since its inception and this year too, it has been no different. We had some good meetings with potential buyers who were interested in what we have to offer in the East. However, out of the buyers, we had already connected with some of them at Destination East in Kolkata. GITB is more apt for creating brand awareness and displaying products on offer and also meeting our friends in the industry. We are based in Assam and do not get an opportunity to meet our partners often. Thus, GITB is an important platform for us.
H S Duggal, Managing Director, Minar Travels
The quality of foreign buyers is much better this year as compared to the last years. The meetings conducted were more meaningful. I have to say good efforts have been made by the organisers in choosing the right buyers for this edition of GITB. Talking of numbers, the buyers will definitely be more because there are more number of exhibitors, so that is not a criterion to comment on the quality of the show. Business is transacted only when decision makers come to the show and there is a match in terms of products offered and desired.
Manish Tolani, Head of Sales, ITC Hotels
This year, GITB is far more positive than its previous editions. The number of meaningful engagements has definitely increased; we received over 160 queries over two days which is a 20 per cent increase in appointments over last year. Based on our interaction with the FTOs directly, we can say the queries are good and for us, it is more important how the DMCs are interacting with them because eventually the business comes through the DMCs and the feedback has been positive for them.
Mayuri Ghosh, General Manager—Sales, Lords Hotels and Resorts
A majority of foreign buyers were first-time visitors to India and to GITB. We received queries for our properties. The number of foreign buyers increased this year. We had about 40 meetings in total. This is mostly a lead generating platform where an interest is generated amongst buyers and we showcase our products but business is done later.
Vishal Jaiswal, CEO, Caper Travel Company
GITB is one of the most important platforms which we have been attending year after year. We can showcase our products, network and meet industry trade partners. However, the foreign buyers who visit the show are not decision makers but mostly tourists in India. They can also listen to our product presentation and show interest in doing business later but cannot take decisions on behalf of the companies and close concrete meetings.
Rajesh Ballabh, General Manager, Ananta Pushkar
This year, the meetings were quite good and we directly met the foreign tour operators, who have been dealing with various DMCs for India. We were able to understand from them, which properties they were using for their clients and which ones they were not, and for what reasons. We are a little disappointed with the low footfall at the show and somewhere, there was a lack of interest in the show. However, we were able to meet buyers one-on-one in a non-rushed atmosphere.
Richa K Singh, Executive Vice President, Treehouse Hotels, Resorts & Serviced Apartments
GITB is one show which brings some of the most serious buyers into India to showcase the various destinations of tourist interest. It is a great platform to showcase the various tourism products of India to a variety of foreign tour operators. Since we have moved from the older venue to a larger one at JECC, the show has become much more organised. According to me, GITB is mostly a lead generating platform, rather than a show where actual business is transacted. Here, interest is generated amongst the foreign tour operators, which further yields to business later during follow ups. It also brings all DMCs from across the country under one umbrella.
Manish Saini, Director, Worldwide Rail Journeys
We participated at GITB for the third time this year after a gap of two years. This year, we felt that the number of foreign buyers has decreased as compared to the last few editions and the attendance at the show was also low. However, we were able to get a fair amount of good quality meetings. Some of the queries were from newer markets like China. At GITB, there is no actual transaction of business but it is important to showcase the product to the market and gather information about various trends.
Jatinder Taneja, Managing Director, Travel Spirit International
This year, GITB has been more or less similar to its previous editions, but with an increase in the number of foreign buyers and sellers, as informed by the organising team. Though it has not changed over the years, the show has become more positive and is an important show for tourism in North India. Not only is it a key show to touch base with industry colleagues and market the brand, but also one to meet newer clients for a larger share of business in the industry.
Vikas Abbott, Managing Director, Vasco Travel
What I like about GITB as a platform is that we get to meet new clients every year to expand our data base. Some of the buyers are travel agents who are starting out with promotion for India. GITB becomes their touch point for all suppliers in the country and generates potential for us. Based on our conversations with some clients, it was observed that the buyers were not happy with restrictions on paying the participation fee. The organisers should note that to make the procedure easier and convenient, the buyers should be allowed to pay in any currency or be charged on their credit card.
Anil Kumar, Chairman and Managing Director, Senkay Tours and Travels
This year, GITB was quite positive as we got a chance to meet many new clients who displayed immense interest to put India on the tourism map as a preferred destination. Frankly speaking, we have been coming to GITB for years now and have not seen anything change. However, the selection of foreign tour operators at the show was done with more care this year. I feel GITB needs a better window. With the season becoming hot in Jaipur in mid-April and Arabian Travel Market also clashing with this show, I feel the charm of the show is lost to some extent. I feel a more meaningful and carefully chosen window to host GITB will bring better results.