Mumbai: Participants from 50-plus countries and many Indian States and Union Territories exhibited their destinations at OTM 2019, held at the Bombay Exhibition Centre from January 23 to 25. OTM 2019 had 1,000-plus exhibitors, including national and state tourism organisations, state tourism boards, hotels, airlines, Destination Marketing Companies (DMCs) and other suppliers serving leisure as well as business travel and Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, Events (MICE) markets.
Over 15,000 travel trade visitors attended the three-day show along with more than 800 top buyers from travel trade and corporate sectors who had qualified for special hosting privileges.
OTM 2019 was attended by four tourism ministers from India and abroad. Anil Kumarsingh Gayan, Minister of Tourism, Government of Mauritius; Derek Hanekom, Minister of Tourism, South Africa; K J Alphons, Minister of State for Tourism (I/C), Government of India and Satpal Maharaj, Minister for Tourism, Government of Uttarakhand were present during the first two days of the show.
The Ministers of Tourism from Mauritius and Uttarakhand inaugurated OTM 2019, in the presence of several other dignitaries including Panos Kalogeropoulos, Ambassador of Greece; Thoyyib Mohamed, MD, Maldives Tourism and Dr. Raden Sigit Witjaksono, Director, Ministry of Tourism, Republic of Indonesia.
K J Alphons, Union Minister of State for Tourism (I/C) was the chief guest on the second day of OTM 2019. He took a tour of the show and interacted with various exhibitors. He also launched the Cine Tourism Report sponsored by OTM and prepared by Ernst & Young on promoting film tourism within India. Alphons remarked, “I am extremely happy to be here at OTM 2019. The report of World Travel and Tourism Council 2018 shows India is at rank 3 in power and performance, after China and the United States. The revenue generated from tourism last year was $234 billion. We employ 82 million people in the tourism sector. Film Tourism also offers huge potential and I am happy that the Prime Minister has announced a single window system with Ministry of I&B and all clearances for all the States would be issued centrally.”
Anil Kumarsingh Gayan, Minister of Tourism, Government of Mauritius said, “OTM has done a wonderful job in organising this fair. This is a great occasion to showcase not just what India has to offer but also what other participants have to offer. Tourism is a major pillar of the economy. I look forward to working very closely with OTM in the years to come.”
Satpal Maharaj, Minister of Tourism, Government of Uttarakhand said, “It has been a wonderful experience at OTM 2019. We actually got to know what people are promoting and what the visitors wanted. OTM is the ideal place for inbound and outbound tourism. This is a good opportunity that OTM has provided to understand what is happening in the world and what we should do. I will support and participate in the upcoming OTMs.”
Derek Hanekom, Minister of Tourism, South Africa, remarked, “This is my first time at OTM and I’m utterly impressed with the quality of the exhibits and quite overwhelmed. I had a great experience at OTM 2019 and you are enticing us to want to be here ourselves. Good job!”
OTM 2019’s Premium Partner Country, Indonesia was very happy to be part of OTM and their entourage of tour operators stood testimony to the fact. Dr. Raden Sigit Witjaksono, Director, Minister of Tourism, Republic of Indonesia said, “India is our main market and ranks 2 after China in tourist arrivals to Indonesia. OTM is one of the mediums that helps us to showcase and promote Indonesia and places beyond Bali. We look forward to having more cooperation from Indian market through OTM.”
Besides showcasing their myriad tourist attractions, Indonesia Tourism presented an array of cultural offerings during the show. Representatives from Indonesia’s travel and tourism industry under the umbrella of The Ministry of Tourism, Republic of Indonesia discussed their India-specific tourism promotion plans during OTM 2019.
OTM Mumbai has yet again emerged as the largest travel trade show in Asia-Pacific, both in terms of participating sellers and rented area. The show is a gateway to India’s 22 million outbound travellers and a billion-strong domestic travel market. It provides travel professionals with an opportunity to showcase their business at one of the largest travel source markets in the world. With the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India by its side, OTM saw active participation from the Ministry in several aspects. The Ministry not only sponsored Hosted Buyers from abroad to visit the show, it also supported the Cine Tourism Workshop on the inaugural day.
Country pavilions were set up by Cambodia, China, Egypt, Greece, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Korea, Macao, Maldives, Mauritius, Nepal, New Zealand, Palestine, Philippines, Romania, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand and several other countries.
Other marquee exhibitors at OTM 2019 included Travel Boutique Online (TBO), Bangkok Tourism Division – Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, Ezeego1.com, Tokyo International Airport, Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau, Hotel & Restaurant Association of Bhutan, Trance Holiday and others.
This year, the OTM Forum focussed on innovation and technology in travel. There was an interesting line-up of panel discussions conducted on the side-lines of the mart. Eminent experts and leaders from the industry deliberated on digital marketing and social media in travel, the influence of AR/VR and other subjects related to Domestic, Inbound, Outbound, MICE and Niche Tourism. Eminent speakers from companies like Thomas Cook, TBO, AirAsia, Lonely Planet India, Thrillophilia.com, Oberoi Hotels & Resorts, GoIbibo, Jet Airways, Indigo Airlines, Booking.com, Jio Studios, Phocuswright Inc., TravHQ and others were present.
CineLocales Lounge within OTM was a marketplace connecting the world’s largest filmmaking community to global destinations. 50-plus top production houses like Yash Raj Films, Dharma Productions, Viacom and many others visited CineLocales at OTM 2019.
Parallel sessions on Destination Weddings hosted by Mauritius Tourism and Travel Technology were held at the show. OTM ensured top-notch wedding planners communicated with travel operators, attended sessions on wedding planning as well as destination weddings. Cruise Hub provided an opportunity for travel trade to connect with the cruising community in India and abroad, expand their network and enhance business prospects.
OTM 2019 organised an hour-long speed networking session where exhibitors exclusively met more than 800 top buyers on-the-spot to build and grow their network.
Cox and Kings, the Knowledge Partner of OTM, conducted destination workshops on China, Morocco, Greece and Turkey.
Facebook, the Knowledge Partner for OTM Forum, conducted a specialised skill development workshop on digital marketing for travel stakeholders.
OTM India’s Top 100 Travel Producer Awards were also presented at the show. Hundreds of travel producers from all over India attended the show and received the awards.