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Saturday, 08 September, 2018, 17 : 05 PM [IST]

FAITH, MoT in the dock over last minute venue change of India Tourism Mart

With 10 days left for the mart, there is still no clarity on international buyers nor B2B meetings: Exhibitors
Ministry of Tourism (MoT), Government of India, and the Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism and Hospitality (FAITH), the collective body of private travel and tourism industry associations in the country, are in the dock over the last-minute change of venue for the much-trumpeted maiden travel and tourism mart – India Tourism Mart (ITM). The exhibitors have been informed about the change of venue from Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi to The Ashok Hotel few days back for the B2B travel mart which is scheduled between September 16 to 18, 2018.  

While the MoT is citing some prior booking of the venue for Ministry of Labour’s Vishwakarma Day ‘Shram Awards’ event on September 17, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is Chief Guest, as the reason for the last minute change in venue, the exhibitors who booked space for the Travel expo and the travel trade in general is out questioning the goof up on the part of the organisers in announcing the venue without checking the availability. “For security reasons, the venue needed to be sanitised one day prior to the PM’s event,” said an official of the Ministry of Tourism when approached for reason for the change of venue. 

FAITH, along with the Ministry, which announced the event venue at a well-attended Media Briefing two weeks back, took a u-turn and said the venue has been changed considering the “convenience of the people”. “There are a lot of security hassles at Vigyan Bhavan,” said Subhash Goyal, Secretary, FAITH.

The exhibitors who booked space shelling out INR 60,000 and INR 90,000 are not ready to take this change lightly. “There will certainly be an impact if you change the venue like this. The benefit which was expected from the whole exercise will be drastically reduced,” said a prominent tourist transport company owner who has booked space for the ITM. Blaming the Ministry for the mess up, he said that it was the department which announced the venue and the Prime Minister will be inaugurating the Mart. He said that FAITH is just a face, and they have to get approval for every act from the Ministry, which involves the usual bureaucratic delays. 

“It is not fair to the exhibitors nor to the international buyers coming for the event,” says another exhibitor who is promoter of Luxury trains in India. With only a week left for the event, exhibitors are in the dark about the international buyers and the promised B2B meetings. “This raises a lot of questions on the quality of buyers coming. I have not received a single enquiry from international buyers so far,” he says. Blaming FAITH for its “utter incompetence” in handling the event, he alleged that they have sold spaces to “make MoT happy”. “Where are the promised B2B meetings? I have asked for refund of the money,” he stated.

 
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