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Monday, 14 March, 2016, 15 : 00 PM [IST]

India emerges as prime market for outbound tourism

The 3-day event provided the travel trade sector both from India and abroad huge opportunities to buy, sell and also update their knowledge. Exhibitors from domestic as well as international had showcased their travel and tourism potential to a large number of audience. Prasenjit Chakraborty & Itee Sharma offer insight of the event
OTM 2016 was inaugurated at the Bombay Exhibition Centre in Mumbai on February 18 and continued till February 20. The event witnessed participation of various global destinations like Indonesia, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Thailand, New Zealand, China, Japan, Hong Kong, Macao, Bangladesh, Philippines, Maldives, Oman, Bhutan, Seychelles, Israel, Rwanda, Romania, Fiji and Greece.  Similarly, on the domestic front, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, Jammu & Kashmir, Gujarat, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha and many other states were present with large number of sellers from each destination, to showcase India at its best.

OTM 2016 Inaugration

Facilitating international exhibitors
OTM 2016 offered the opportunity for international exhibitors to showcase their travel and tourism capabilities at length. Peter Hoslin, Regional Director, Europe and New Markets, Hong Kong Tourism Board said, “Hong Kong, Macao and Shenzhen are becoming popular with the Indian travellers. Participating for the first time in OTM, the three-NTO pavilions provided us a business platform to introduce the collective strengths and the variety of experiences to our valued travel trade partners and Indian travellers.”

Similarly, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is also eyeing big on India’s outbound tourism potential. Representatives of the UAE’s travel and tourism industry under the umbrella of National Council of Tourism and Antiquities (NCTA) discussed its India-specific tourism promotion plans during OTM 2016.  “The UAE has trade and cultural ties with India since ages. We want to strengthen these ties further and foresee a substantial growth in the number of tourist footfalls in the near future,” said H.E. Sultan Mohamed Bin Khadin, Acting Consul, the UAE Embassy in India.


Mihaela Parteca, Head of the Romanian National Tourists office in Bejing
This is our second year in OTM and are satisfied with the response. India is a potential market for us and in 2015 around 9,000 tourists from India visited Romania. We are focussed on Delhi and Mumbai. After that we want to go to Chennai, Ahmedabad and Kolkata. We are promoting Danube Delta, which is famous for eco-tourism and a UNESCO World heritage site. A good number of foreigners visit the Delta and it is best well preserved Delta in Europe. In the next edition, organisers should organise one-on-one meeting with DMC tour operators.

Ozgur Ayturk, Coordinator, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Turkey
There is a good response from the Indian travel trade. Through this exhibition, we are promoting Istanbul, Cappadocia, Antalya and Izmir. We are targeting tier 1 & 2 cities of India and our strategy is not just participating in exhibitions but also conducting road shows throughout the year. We have co-exhibitors from Turkey and they expect to meet their Indian counterparts and do business with them. We will participate in the next edition of OTM.

Khalid Waleed Al Mansoori, Executive, Overseas Promotions Dept, Government of Sharjah
UAE tourism authorities and tour operators from the country are keen to promote the tourism potential of the diverse offerings in its seven emirates. Sharjah is one of the most attractive emirates with its remarkable cultural offerings, and has positioned itself as a world class tourist destination for the entire family. We are happy to participate in this exhibition for the first time and hope to make use of the platform offered by this event to attract more visitors to Sharjah from India. We also look forward to participating in the coming editions of this exhibition.

According to the organisers, Indonesia was satisfied with the event turnout, especially the exposure the brand Wonderful Indonesia received throughout the exhibition halls. “The Ministry of Tourism, Republic of Indonesia is confident of an increase in Indian tourist arrivals this year,” said Rita Sophia, Deputy Director, Ministry of Tourism, Republic of Indonesia who led a delegation of 20 private sector companies to OTM 2016.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has been participating in OTM for the last six years and TAT hopes to achieve 1.10 million Indian visitor arrivals to the Kingdom by the end of 2016. and an increase of tourism spending by 8%. The special attendance of Her Excellency Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Minister for Tourism and Sports, Thailand, as OTM’s chief guest at the inaugural ceremony underscores a firm commitment for the Kingdom’s continuous pursuit of the many untapped opportunities arising from Thailand’s  Tier  II  cities and new market segments.

OTM 2016 Workshop
While the global tourism industry is bullish on India’s growth story, small countries like Rwanda, Romania, Fiji, Bhutan, Egypt, Maldives, etc. are also attempting to ride on the bandwagon believing in India’s outbound tourism potential. Joseph Kabakeza, First Counsellor & Deputy Head of Mission, at the High Commission of The Republic of Rwanda, said, “India is the second target tourist destination after China and recognising the potential, the Rwanda Tourism Department has been promoting their offerings in India in a big way.”

Similarly, 80,000 Indian tourists visited Bhutan in 2015, the country is now expecting the footfalls to rise from 1,30,000 to 1,50,000. Romania is expecting about 10% rise in tourist footfalls from India in 2016. Israel is also coming in a big way on international tourism circuits and India is a promising market. With Israel’s Ministry of Tourism’s Country Office in India, Israel is leaving no stone unturned to attract tourists from India.  

The event also witnessed a huge participation of hospitality sector. According to Petra Skopalov, Director, Business Development, Asia, Riu Hotels & Resorts, trade buyers and visitors have continuously visited their booth. With 150 hotels worldwide, Riu Hotels & Resorts is making its expansion into Asia with new hotels in Mauritius and Sri Lanka. Skopalov is confident that many business meetings conducted at OTM 2016 will help increase Riu’s brand awareness and attract eloquent Indian travellers to experience its all-inclusive 24X7 concept hospitality.


Sameer Lele, Proprietor, Sam-San Travels
I think many countries under one roof coming together for fantastic interaction which is very good for business. My intention to meet international suppliers is fulfilled. The organisers should keep up the good job.


Innovative ways to promote tourism
The three-day B2B trade show attracted more than a thousand sellers from 50 participating destinations which met over 6,000 buyers on the exhibition floor. Side by side the trade exhibition, a host of innovative events took place to discuss emerging trends in the travel business- TechForum at OTM, StartupKnockDown, Shoot at Site @ OTM, Buyer-Seller Speed Networking, India’s Top 100 Travel Producers Award, and Responsible Tourism at OTM.  

Speaking about the significance of OTM 2016, Sanjiv Agarwal, Chairman and CEO, Fairfest Media Limited – the organisers of OTM, said, “Technology, digital marketing, and social media are more and more enabling travel organisations from tourist boards to hotels, tour operators and tourist attractions to market to targeted consumers domestically and globally. In partnership with travel-tech media platform, TravHQ, we have successfully created India’s first and only specialised tourism-based business-technology platform, TechForum@OTM, aimed at connecting technology solution providers with our colleagues in the travel industry.”

The event also saw panel discussions on important topics such as ‘How to leverage content and online influencer relationships for travel industry’. In the presence of the Head of Travel Business at Google India, venture capitalists and a corporate strategist from leading travel company Cox & Kings, the unique workshop on #StartupKnockDown was conducted to provide promising travel start-ups, the ultimate pitch deck to increase awareness and raise funds.

Unleashing the power of Film Tourism was the theme of the Shoot at Site @ OTM session where it was reported that the film industry is a major money-spinner for destinations on locations. It was reported that for every dollar invested, the returns from film-induced tourism and film-based tourism can be measured up to USD 7 to 15. Global destinations such as Singapore, Switzerland and Spain have reaped these benefits from recent Indian film productions shot overseas. The film industry is urging their travel colleagues to convert red tapes to red carpets for win-win policies in simplifying the process, incentivising productions and co-promotions.

OTM 2016 Seminar
Launch of BLTM
The organisers have officially launched Business & Luxury Travel Mart (BLTM) at the event. BLTM is positioned as the first full-fledged travel mart focused on sellers from global Business and Luxury Travel segments and hundreds of hosted buyers from all over India. The BLTM will be hosted at the sprawling 20,000 sq ft Convention Hall of Hyatt Regency Gurgaon in Delhi NCR.
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