The 23rd edition of South Asia Travel & Tourism Exchange (SATTE) in New Delhi, spread over six halls, witnessed participation in full swing of more than 20,000 visitors (excluding repeat). This was about 28% increase as compared to the previous year’s edition. Around 15,000 B2B meetings took place over the course of three days with buyers from 75 Indian cities.
The event welcomed representation from over 750 exhibitors and participants from more than 35 countries and 28 Indian states. SATTE 2016 also saw a promising increase in involvement from hospitality players along with the support of international organisations and Indian travel trade associations.
A host of panel discussions on the first two days covered subjects encompassing new trends and insights pertaining to the sector at large.
Addressing the gathering at the inaugural ceremony of SATTE 2016 and revealing the tourism figures of last year, Vinod Zutshi, Secretary-Tourism, Government of India, informed that 1.45 billion domestic tourists were recorded last year whereas the Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) witnessed an average growth of 4.4%, with 4.45 lakh electronic-Tourist Visas (ETVs) being issued in 2015.
In order to promote the Buddhist trails in India, the Ministry of Tourism (MoT) is planning to organise a Buddhist Conclave in Sarnath and Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh in the month of September or November this year. He further said that MoT is also pushing coastal and beach tourism by developing lighthouses and promoting island tourism. “Under the Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive (PRASAD) and Swadesh Darshan scheme, the Ministry has invested USD 300 million in various circuits. MoT is looking forward to organise an Investors Meet to attract private players to invest in the PRASAD and Swadesh Darshan schemes. The soon to be launched Tourism Policy aims to accelerate the growth of tourism sector and drive economic development,” he stated.
Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State for Tourism and Culture (Independent Charge) and Civil Aviation, Government of India, emphasised that SATTE is a perfect platform for exchange of learnings in the field of tourism and hospitality, and the MoT will consider the feedback the event receives.
Michael Duck, Executive Vice President, UBM Asia, organisers of SATTE, exclaimed, “For over 2 decades, UBM has played an integral part in making SATTE a leading travel trade event. India is one of the fastest growing travel markets, and SATTE has evolved as a major contributor to address the growing industry needs. Going forward, we are poised to raise the benchmark together.”
At SATTE, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) participated for the 8th time in a row this year. Talking about the promotional strategies of TAT, Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Minister of Tourism and Sports, Thailand, added that in the coming months they aim to introduce the niche cities of Thailand as new tourism destinations. “We want to focus on community-based tourism, open up smaller towns for tourists, and promote new tourism segments such as sports, women and medical tourism.” On the aviation front, she informed that capacity is being increased at U-Tapao–Pattaya International Airport, Pattaya and Don Muang International Airport, Bangkok. The four-storey international terminal of the new Phuket airport is also ready for test runs.
Dayal Das Baghel, Tourism Minister, Government of Chhattisgarh, highlighted the tourism offerings of the state and urged the travel trade to explore and promote the untouched beauty and ancient culture of the state.
Conveying the message of Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General, United Nations’ World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Alla Peressolova, Manager - Silk Road Programme, UNWTO, stated that 2015 marked the 6th consecutive year of above-average growth, with international arrivals increasing by 4% or more every year post the crisis of 2010. By region, Asia and the Pacific recorded around 5% growth in 2015, and a further 4% is expected in the current year.