Foreign buyers from 71 countries to participate in KTM 2024; event’s focus on MICE, weddings

As many as 89 delegates will participate from the 27 countries attending the Kerala Travel Mart for the first time. These include Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Turkey, Vietnam, among others. With 52 buyers, the United Kingdom tops the list.

As Kerala Travel Mart (KTM-2024) braces up for its 12th edition starting on September 26 this year, a line-up of 592 foreign buyers from 71 countries have registered for the four-day event, according to the state’s tourism department. The mart is billed as Asia’s largest tourism event .

Significantly, buyers from 27 countries are attending the event for the first time, including those from China, Japan and Saudi Arabia.

As many as 89 delegates will participate from the 27 countries attending the KTM for the first time. They are from Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bhutan, Botswana, Bulgaria, Burma, China, Colombia, Cypress, Denmark, Egypt, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Latvia, Mauritius, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Tanzania, Turkey and Vietnam.

The warm overseas response to the event underscores an unprecedented growth in the tourism sector, stated to Jose Pradeep, President of KTM Society, which is organizing the event with the support of the state Tourism Department and other state as well as industry agencies.

“This impressive response to the event is a result of the overseas marketing campaigns mounted by Kerala Tourism.  The participation will be impressively high this time from the northwestern countries that enjoy a special charm among tourists,” he added.

The number of buyers from abroad is set to increase further as the last date of online registration for them is July 31, pointed out KTM Society Secretary S. Swaminathan. “We are expecting an all-time record in buyers’ participation this time,” he added.

With 52 buyers, the United Kingdom tops the list of foreign countries when it comes to representatives at KTM-2024. The others are USA (45) and Malaysia (30). The domestic delegates total 1,533, of whom 460 are from Maharashtra, 257 from Delhi and 217 from Gujarat.

As for stalls (under eight segments), the organisers have received 364 Expressions of Interest, as KTM seeks to showcase Kerala’s strength in tourism before a global audience.

The flagship event’s inaugural ceremony will be followed by three days of sessions at the Sagara and Samudrika convention centres in Willingdon Island on September 27, 28 and 29. The run-up to KTM-2024 will see a pre-mart tour from September 22 to 26, involving media persons, vloggers and influencers. There will also be a five-day post-mart tour across Kerala from September 30 for select buyers of KTM-2024.

The 11th KTM in 2022 facilitated more than 55,000 business interactions in its three days. The buyers totalled 1,134 (234 of them from abroad), while seller stalls totalled 325.

The business sessions of KTM 2024 will be held on September 27, 28 and 29. Public can visit the expo on September 29.

The 12th KTM will accord special focus to Kerala as a wedding destination. Authorities see an overexposure of tourist spots outside of the state as an opportunity to woo travellers to Kerala. The state also is reputed for cultural and culinary richness besides strong infrastructure and transportation facilities including air, water, rail and road connectivity.

Besides its emphasis on promoting Responsible Tourism, the upcoming KTM will also strive to boost MICE (meetings, industries, conferences and exhibitions) tourism. In addition to hosting large events in metros such as Kochi, leisure destinations are also equipped to host variety MICE events. The G20 working group’s meet at Kumarakom near Kottayam in March-April last year was an example of the state’s USP in this segment.

Cruise tourism is another area where the 12th edition of KTM is giving focus. Authorities are optimistic about roping in potential buyers from this segment as well.