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Thursday, 26 September, 2019, 15 : 45 PM [IST]

GPS Chandigarh & Lucknow – ‘Script Your Own Growth Stories’

What distinguishes Global Panorama Showcase (GPS) from other travel exhibitions is the role it is playing as an empowering agent for small and medium travel trade in Tier-II cities in the country. Participation in the annual event and getting into the exclusive membership programmes like EDWIN, 10X, etc. of GPS are helping agents in smaller cities to establish their own identity and thus come out of the clutches of bigger players sitting in metros. After attending the fourth annual GPS at Chandigarh, P Krishna Kumar grabs the sentiments of the buyers and sellers.

Deepak Gupta is all of two years into the travel business. He is from Panchkula, a nearby city, runs a travel company on his own. He has already travelled to Bali and Penang as part of the EDWIN programme of GPS and have been selling these destinations to his clients independently. Similarly, Vandana Mathur who runs her own small travel company, Travel Boat, in Ambala, also travelled from her city to Chandigarh to participate in the GPS because she understands the value that the direct contacts with DMCs, tourism boards, cruise companies, etc. can deliver to build her own business base.

"At GPS smaller players like us get a lot of focus and attention. The seminars, the networking events, and the B2B meetings are real learning platforms for us and make a lot of difference to our business. I am less than 2 years into this business. I got a lot of help and support from GPS to get a foothold in the travel business," Gupta said.

GPS is actually empowering agents in the Tier II cities in the country by taking serious sellers closer to them and thereby inculcating confidence to conduct business directly by bypassing many layers in their business. Some of the success stories elaborated at GPS Chandigarh accentuate the fact that some of these agents have, over a period of time, become developed their capabilities to go beyond their natural territories and bag business from under the nose of bigger players. GPS can of course take credit for that.

It is just not buyers who are finding GPS a real credible platform from a B2B standpoint. People like Zarir Shroff, Founder & CEO of RED Tours are eloquent about the productiveness of the GPS platform and the associated programmes like EDWIN, the destination education workshops. A UK-based coach tour operator for Europe, RED Tours has been receiving business enquiries ever since it associated with GPS and hosted first-ever EDWIN tour of Europe last year. "We are proud

to associate with GPS and EDWIN. The first ever EDWIN Familiarisation tour last year to Europe was a phenomenal hit and helped in building awareness about the product and services that RED Tours offer," he said.

Jilesh Babla, Director, Zanzibar Tourism Promotion Centre (ZTPC) who has partnered with GPS for their EDWIN programme for Zanzibar Tourism is also quite confident of their "strong data base" in Tier II and III cities in the country. Amit Gogia, General Manager at TrulyyIndia Hotels who decided to participate in all the GPS shows this year after tasting success by participating only for the Nagpur show last year also attests the value of the GPS platform. "GPS has strict selection process for buyers. They invite only owners and decision-makers of agencies, which makes a lot of difference," Gogia said.

Tundup Dorjey of Overland Escape, a Ladakh based DMC has almost stopped participating any other B2B travel show other than GPS. "Even if I meet only 200 agents, it makes more sense than meeting 2000 at many bigger shows. We have started getting good business since we became part of the GPS and EDWIN," he said as he is preparing to host second batch of EDWIN buyers this year.

Despite tweaking the schedule a bit, GPS Chandigarh witnessed around 1,000 registrations, informs Harmandeep Singh Anand, Co-founder, GPS. "It was the largest ever registration in Chandigarh. People have started understanding our concept. We are not an exhibition, but a networking and interaction based B2B show which helps open up enduring business partnerships." Talking about Destination Education Workshops, EDWIN, he said that even both buyers and sellers have started realising the value the programme delivers to the destinations. "These are not FAM trips," he added.

Among the product exhibits, the booth of India's first cruise product, Jalesh Cruise, caught the fancy of lot of buyers at Chandigarh GPS.

Ever since its inception GPS has set benchmarks with its disruptive format of doing business differently, today it has been well accepted by the regional markets and Tier II and III cites said Harmandeep Singh Anand, MD, GPS.

GPS Lucknow concluded sucessfully with an overwhelming response from the buyers and exhibitors. "GPS is not a new thing for the industry any more. It is well recognised and accepted by the tourism players of the Tier II & III cities," said Anand. "People have understood the concept of GPS. They have acknowledged it as a green event and they realise it is an opportunity for them to get intact with the tourism market of India," he said.

This year's mantra, "Script your own growth stories' GPS is not only to help the exhibitors gain business but also to encourage the buyers to equally participate and network with the industry," exclaimed Anand.

Highlighting the paperless format of GPS, Anand said, "I am happy that the GPS family is using the e-platform efficiently. "Today social media is of utmost importance. Though it is a bane at times it is important to be active on platforms both for the bottom line and growth of the business," he added.

With the change in schedule, GPS has also launched the KIT (Knowledge, Inspiration and Training) sessions to educate the industry. Almost 250-300 people attended the knowledge sessions in each city. "Here the successful local travel industry stalwarts competing with the Tier I cities inspire and boost the new comers in the tourism industry from Tier I & Tier II."

Along with this, GPS has also tied up with "Meetings Mean Business" to build strong network with MICE with the help of Nitin Sachdeva, Executive Director of Venture Marketing and co-chairperson, Meetings Mean Business.

Anand said, "limiting the number of exhibitors to maintain the quality, close to 60 buyers presenting more than 100-120 products representing New Zealand, Canada, the US, hotel chains like Oberoi, Leela, Fortune, Welcome Group, ITC and smaller group, tourism boards like Nevada, Holland tourism, Philippines. Insurance services like TrawellTag have been our biggest partner technology, InterGlobe, B2B players like TBO, TBO DMC is offering almost 28-30 destinations. "We have a created a good mix of the tourism products generating business avenues", he informed.

Concluded with 4 cities so far in this financial year starting with Hyderabad, Ahmedabad with an exceptional response, Chandigarh witnessing a growth of 40% over last year and finally Lucknow GPS has been so far a successful event. "There is a lot more to do. India has lot of potential and we encourage more exhibitors to tie-up with us as this is surely a right kind of investment they would make for scripting the growth of their business, We are value for money," said Anand.
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