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‘Kerala Travel Mart is more techsavvy this year’

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What is special about KTM this year?

Mathew Philip

Held every two years, KTM is different this year.This is the seventh edition to be held from September 27-30, 2012 at Le Meridien Kochi. KTM started registrations in March. Presently we have around 255 buyers registered with us. Based on past experience we are looking at participation of about 1,000 domestic buyers and about 312 sellers from Kerala. This year there will be around 296 modules, 108 tables and 12 houseboats.

We started online registration for buyers two years ago. Now for the first time this year even seller registration is online. One can go online and block the space and within a week you have to make the payment or you lose the space. The process is more streamlined now. Appointments are also being fixed online this year. Buyers and sellers will match their requirements and then fix the schedules. Each appointment will last for 15 minutes.

How has the selection process been streamlined?

The selection process is comprehensive. Buyers are selected after going through a strict scrutiny by the committee members. We want to see whether they are capable of selling Kerala in their country. We are spending resources and we want to see results. We have seen that some scrupulous sellers want to participate to sell their own tourism products. Generally our scrutiny does work. Our aim is to tighten the quantity and better the quality of KTM.

Anyone who has a good tourism product can participate. We do not encourage antique/ handicraft shops as they are basically byproducts of tourism. They should be selling a destination in Kerala.

Why not make KTM an annual trade event?

Feedback says that Kerala is not that big a destination to warrant a KTM every year so we do it every two years. Buyers cannot come every year. But we are happy that KTM has been well accepted by the trade.

What initiatives is the KTM society taking to promote new destinations in the state?

Bekal is a promising new destination but it should decide how it can be promoted. KTM can only provide them a platform. There is nothing else we can do to promote a particular destination. Wayanad has it own tourism body (Wayanad Tourism Organisation) and its own event, Splash. As encouragement and to give delegates a glimpse of new tourism regions, post KTM tours are being arranged to Wayanad, Kovalam, Munnar and Thekkady. These tours can be used as networking opportunities. Though distances being too much in Kerala, one cannot cram too much of sightseeing in one trip. Most of these places do not have proper connectivity.

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