Mumbai, February 3: OTM Mumbai, one of the largest and most international gatherings of travel trade buyers and professionals in India, opened its doors to an august gathering at the Jio World Convention Centre, Mumbai. OTM Mumbai is underway from 2 -4 February and is catering to nearly 30,000 visitors. OTM Mumbai is regarded as one of the biggest travel shows in Asia, post the pandemic.
Key dignitaries present at the inaugural ceremony of OTM Mumbai include H.E. Dr. Saud Mohammed Al-Sati, Ambassador, Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia; Dr. Abdulla Mausoom, Tourism Minister, Maldives; H.E. Ibrahim Shaheeb, High Commissioner of Maldives; Florian Sengstschmid, CEO, Azerbaijan Tourism Board; Meshaal Qureshi, Trade Markets Director- India & Subcontinent, Saudi Tourism Authority; Philip Dickinson, VP International Markets, Qatar Tourism; Mrs. Jyoti Mayal, President, Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) and Sanjiv Agarwal, Chairman & CEO of Fairfest Media Ltd.
According to the global airlines’ association IATA, India is a key aviation market for the Asia Pacific region as well as the rest of the world and is expected to see robust air travel demand. Outbound trips count from India is estimated to touch 29 mn by 2025 and cross the $24 bn mark by 2024. As for the domestic tourism market, India received 677.63 million domestic tourist visits in 2021, an increase of 11.05% from 610.22 million in 2020, as per reports. By 2029, the Indian tourism sector is likely to grow at 6.7% each year to reach INR 35 trillion and thus account for 9.6% of the country’s GDP.
The event is showcasing over 1250+ exhibitors from 50 countries and 30 Indian States/UTs that will meet 30,000+ pre-qualified buyers, including 1000+ VIP & hosted buyers from all over India. The event is a full house show covering more than 250,000 sq. ft at two levels of JWCC. OTM would be a testimony to the global travel business bouncing back with full vigour after the pandemic-related disruptions in the last couple of years. OTM is organised by Fairfest Media Ltd., India’s oldest and largest travel tradeshow organisers since 1989.
Speaking at the inauguration Dr. Abdulla Mausoom, Tourism Minister, Maldives, said, “India is a very important market for Maldives tourism, and India has been the top market for Maldives for the last 3 years, from 2020 to 2022. We are hoping that India will continue to be the top market this year as well. We have good connectivity with India, with over 50 flights operating every week. Maldives is already famous as a destination thanks to Bollywood, with celebrities holidaying regularly and sending memorable pictures of their vacation. Maldives has a lot to offer for all kinds of budgets; we have ultra-luxury products as well as budget destinations with over 116 islands to choose from. Am inviting everyone from India to experience Maldives.”
Addressing the OTM audience, Jyoti Mayal, President, Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), said, “India is expected to grow to a 5 trillion economy under the vision of honorable Prime Minister, giving a huge boost to every industry. Tourism is the most vibrant, ever-evolving sector and is all about the connect. It drives infrastructure and economic growth and generates 10-11% employment in India and nearly the same globally. Tourism’s fiscal earnings will contribute $ 512 billion to India’s GDP by 2028, 53 million jobs by 2029, $56 billion in foreign exchange earnings and 30.5 million foreign arrivals by 2030. And not only that but outbound trips from India will also bypass 42 billion by 2030. Therefore, tourism needs to evolve, restructure, and reinvent continuously. Invest more in technology, in virtual reality, and explore much more from outbound and inbound tourism. There is a need to do a lot for ease of visas, direct flights, and more connectivity to lower the cost of travel. Skilling is another important aspect which needs focus to have sustained growth. Sustainability with immersive and inclusiveness is extremely important. Ensure correct protocols for health procedures post-COVID are circulated across the globe. Relevant industry platforms like OTM will support and make this industry grow to big heights.”
“OTM’s ‘booster’ edition held in Sep ‘22 at the newly opened JWCC for the first time was hailed as the top travel trade show in the country, based on a survey conducted just after the show. This annual edition is three times in size and likely to break all previous records in terms of size and quality of travel shows in all of Asia and the Pacific region. At this crucial time when there is an armed conflict and economic downturns in major parts of the world and when there is a huge gap left by the Chinese, Indian travellers are much sought after due to their appetite to travel within and outside India. OTM’s rise to the leading position in travel trade shows in entire Asia and the Pacific regions is a testimony of all this. Opening of this world-class venue – the Jio World Convention Centre in Mumbai is another major factor that has helped the show achieve this milestone”, said Sanjiv Agarwal, Chairman & CEO of Fairfest Media Ltd. (organisers of OTM).
Philip Dickinson, VP International Markets, Qatar Tourism, said, “Qatar has been the center of all tourist activity with the recently concluded World Cup at the end of last year, where we welcomed over 1.1 million tourists for an amazing fan experience. India is a priority market for us, and we are here to engage with our partners, tour operators and travel agents to see how we could build our business together. We have a fantastic product to offer with huge infrastructural changes, with the addition of over 100 hotels, new restaurants, new attractions, and new water parks to complement our wonderful museums, souks, and other traditional experiences. We are also blessed with amazing air access between India and Qatar, with our own award-winning Qatar Airways and all the other Indian carriers. We are happy to be here, as India is a priority market for us. We want to work with all our partners, as well as the Trade media. Have a productive OTM, and thanks for having us. “
Tourism Boards and suppliers from Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, Bangkok, Cambodia, Fiji, Israel, Kenya, Korea, Maldives, Mauritius, Nepal, Qatar, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sri Lanka and Thailand, and private players from many countries have all set up pavilions at OTM.
The three-day exhibition has a dedicated floor for domestic participation. Apart from the Union Ministry of Tourism, State Tourism Boards from Assam, Bihar, Daman & Diu, Delhi, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Odisha, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and private players from many other states were promoting their destinations.
Thought-provoking conference sessions will be organised on the OTM show floor. These include a keynote presentation by the Saudi Tourism Authority, the Premium Partner Country of OTM 2023. Another interesting session on ‘Key challenges and opportunities in emerging new world order post-pandemic and how the tourism boards are adapting to them’ will have speakers from National Tourism Organisations.
Skift Megatrends in Travel 2023 was presented for the first time in India at OTM Mumbai. Earlier, Skift Megatrends were released only in the US and the UK.
The event is organising a session on Film Tourism titled ‘Bringing global destinations and locations to Indian cinema’, where producers will meet tourism boards.
MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Events) and Wedding Destinations, being booming components of travel, will have special sessions on topics organised by the Network of Indian MICE Agents (NIMA) and WeddingSutra, respectively.