US, UK buyers top the foreign buyers list in Kerala Travel Mart

The ongoing tenth edition of Kerala Travel Mart (KTM) in Kochi has the highest number of foreign buyers from US and UK, signalling the growing interest of visitors from these countries in Kerala.

As many as 42 buyers have arrived from the US while around 40 buyers have turned up from the UK for business interactions with the sellers, being held at Samudrika and Sagara Convention Centre, Willingdon Island.

Incidentally, this edition of the KTM has the highest number of foreign buyers, which stands at 545, and they have come from 66 countries. There are 37 buyers representing the UAE and 36 buyers have come from Germany.

Buyers from other countries to the mart include Australia (32), Russia (31), Malaysia (26), Poland (24), South Africa (17), Philippines (14), Italy (13), China (12) and Sweden (10), who are active in tying up business-to-business deals.

“I am first time here. I’m looking for new partners and information in tourism sector in the state,” said Elena Protopopova from Russia. She is also impressed with the meticulous organisation of the KTM.

Marion Liebhard, a marketing professional from the US, said, “It’s a really interesting event as I could find a unique array of exhibitors and segments in the KTM. There is a good presentation of the touristic market. I’m looking for new partners and tour operators. I’m impressed with the huge variety here in terms of tourism. What attracts me to Kerala is its tradition and fantastic nature.”

On Saturday morning, the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, organised a ‘kalarippayattu (martial art of Kerala) ’ performance at the venue as part of “Swachh Bharat, Swachh Paryatan” initiative.

The four-day KTM, which was inaugurated by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on September 27, has its focus on the Malabar as a core theme. Public-private participation is a key feature of the conclave which has drawn delegates from the fields of travel and tour, hotels and resorts, home-stay, houseboat, Ayurveda centres and cultural organisations.

The mart provides a platform to world-class buyers and sellers to interact and promote businesses, giving a fresh impetus to Kerala’s tourism industry that generates an annual turnover of Rs 34,000 crore and provides employment to 25 lakh people.

The KTM, with 325 sellers in 400 stalls, has 1,635 buyers, who are top executives of firms in tourism industry within the country and outside, attending it. As for the domestic buyers, their number stands at 1,090. On Sunday, the public will be permitted free entry to the KTM venue.