Kerala Tourism sees B2B meets registering impressive turnout of Italian and Spanish tour operators
The Covid-19 spread had dealt with a body blow to the prospects of tourism in Kerala. As the pandemic started its withdrawal after having raged for the past two years, the administration in Kerala had ushered in many a project to put the tourism industry back on its rails. However, Kerala Tourism had not been able to make much of a progress overseas as many events that could have helped in showcasing the travel scenario in the state were cancelled owing to the virus spread.
Now, after a hiatus of two years, Kerala Tourism has organised its first B2B meet in the Spanish capital Madrid and the Italian city of Milan, showcasing a range of its new tourism initiatives and popular destinations before the leading stakeholders of tourism and hospitality industry in the two European cities.
The annual BIT Milan Trade Fair, held during April 10-12, was another event in which Kerala participated to build confidence in the market and include the state back in the itineraries of tourists from the European continent.
Kerala Tourism presents the way forward
Dr. Venu V, Addl Chief Secretary, Tourism, Govt. of Kerala, who led the delegation, gave a detailed presentation on the state and its way forward to attract tourists in a big way. VR Krishna Teja, Director, Kerala Tourism, was the other member of the official delegation.
“The shows were part of the state’s ongoing promotional activities to consolidate its position in the European market and send out a loud and clear message to the tourists that God’s Own Country is once again as hospitable and safe as it used to be in the pre-pandemic times,” Dr Venu said. The feedback from Kerala’s trade partners, who attended the roadshows, have been very positive. It has also reaffirmed the effectiveness of B2B meets, he added.
Active B2B discussions add to charm
Dinesh K. Patnaik, Indian Ambassador to Spain, attended the Madrid B2B Meet on April 5, while T. Ajungla Jamir, Consul General of India in Milan, attended the road show at Milan on April 7and also visited the Kerala stand at BIT Milan. Teja, who headed the delegation at BIT Milan, said the two roadshows were quite successful. “Active B2B discussions also took place in the stand at the Milan trade fair. There was an impressive turn-out of Italian and Spanish tour operators and travel agents at both the roadshows who showed an enthusiastic interest in Kerala’s new tourism initiatives besides its traditional tourist destinations,” he added.
The B2B meets, also witnessed active participation from Kerala’s trade partners in the private sector. By organising the roadshows, Kerala Tourism also leveraged the opportunity to tap the opening of international flights and free visas offered to foreign tourists as announced by the Indian government.
A total of 18,947 tourists from Spain visited Kerala in 2019, registering an increase of 20 per cent compared to the previous year. Likewise, the state witnessed arrivals of 28,046 tourists from Italy in that year.