Virtual Travel Mart successfully concludes its second edition
After the grand success of its first edition, TravelGyaan recently organised the second edition of ‘Virtual Travel Mart 2021’, an exclusive online event curated especially for Travel Trade Partners around the globe. Through the event, the travel offerings provided by various exhibitors were highlighted.
TravelBiz Monitor was present at the event and spoke with some of the sponsors and exhibitors to know about the poise of the industry in current times.
In her welcome note, Nikita Rawtani, Founder, TravelGyaan, said, “Recognising the obstacles presented by uncertain times we live in today, our aim is to kickstart an initiative to rebuild travel. To be successful in business one must always build strong partnerships, partnerships which ultimately result in friendships and VTM2021 provided the perfect playground to stay connected.”
VTM2021 not only provided an opportunity for the buyers and sellers to meet, reconnect and network with each other, but it also gave an opportunity for learning and winning prizes to the eligible attendees. There were 50 prizes that were won and it was sponsored by TravelGyaan, Switzerland Tourism and Macao Tourism. The highlight was the Gold Coin sponsored by TravelGyaan and the winners were Sameer Shah, Ashmi Dharia and Vinay Aithal. Additionally, gift vouchers by TravelGyaan and giveaways from Switzerland and Macao Tourism were given.
Sharing his experience of participating at VTM2021, Arzan Khambatta, India Head of Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) mentioned that the event was great. ‘’We successfully interacted with over 200 travel members during VTM, surpassing our expectations. MGTO’s aim was to educate our valuable trade partners about the new developments in Macao. The response and interest from our travel partners were incredible and we are pleased to associate with TravelGyaan. I was pleased to be a part of the panel discussion on ‘Destination weddings’ where different perspectives were shared on the ever-so-important travel segment,” Khambatta added.
According to the spokesperson of Switzerland Tourism, “India is an important Strategic Growth Market and one that the Switzerland Tourism is committed to growing over the coming years. Switzerland is a well-established holiday destination in India, and we are keen to raise further awareness of Switzerland as a year-round destination. VTM 2021 gave us the opportunity to reconnect with travel agents and tour operators from across India after a long time and establish new relationships with agents from the smaller cities.”
The spokesperson of Saudi Tourism Authority stated, “Virtual Travel Mart was an opportunity to showcase Saudi to a wide range of tour operators looking for diversified products. Through VTM we were able to showcase a wide range of products based on key drivers and interests for the Indian market. Saudi’s unique and diverse offering; the pristine Red Sea, the awe-inspiring Arabian dunes, the rich cultural and heritage sites and the exciting lineup of entertainment options will ensure a memorable, authentic experience for the global traveller.”
The spokesperson from AlUla said, “VTM was a great networking platform and a well-organised event to connect with the trade. The virtual platform was good and user-friendly. Together our team had some fruitful meetings in 2 days. Besides the agents from Mumbai and Delhi, the event had a good database of travel agents from tier – II & tier -III cities.”
Informing that Saudi is open now for tourists, the spokesperson of Kurban Tours – The Horizons Tours said, “We have also launched our UMRA plus packages. VTM allowed us to launch it and promote it in the event, the event was great, and we got very good leads.”
Neil Shah, Account Director – Sales, Atlantis Dubai mentioned that this was their first virtual trade fair, and indeed was a successful one. “We had a good set of pre-scheduled appointments, as also met with travel agents across India with good potential for business. In addition, we loved the fact that there were so many touch-points of engagement for the agents from the virtual photo booth or webinars in the auditorium or the resource library. Not forgetting that the whole platform was efficient and effective in conducting business meetings professionally,” he added.
While appreciating the user-friendly platform of VTM, Bernadette Willemin, Director-General Marketing, Tourism Seychelles said, “The platform was user friendly and the pre-fixed meeting format allowed some good b2b meetings with both tier – I and tier – II tour operators across the 2 days.”
Explaining the benefits, Yatiraj Kabra from Guidelines Travel LLP said, “VTM 2021 was an event where we could connect with all our travel colleagues from pan India from the safety of our office. It was a well-participated event with a lot of pre-scheduled meetings and visitors available throughout the day.”
Mahip Agarwal, Director of Sales – India Outbound Tours, Alofty Tours Denmark, representing Uniko Scandinavia, Iceland, Finland, Nordics, Rio Egypt Travel, and Moscow Bureau of Voyage Russia stated, “The agents are optimistic about selling the destination, and they just need strong support regarding the product and services.”
“VTM offered us a great opportunity to reconnect with the travel fraternity and update them on the latest updates for travel to Finland. The event was also very well attended and very productive for us. We wish VTM all the very best for Season 3,” expressed the spokesperson of Visit Finland.
Informing that the Indian market is very important to New South Wales (NSW) not only for tourism but also for trade and investment, Paramjit Bawa from Destination NSW said, “India has always been amongst the top 10 source markets for NSW state, hence it is a very important market. VTM 2021 has been a good experience for Destination NSW and we’re happy with the participation. We have noted good attendance from trade in terms of booth visits, appointments and presentation attendees.”
Andean Travel Company’s spokesperson informed, “We participated for the second year in VTM2021 showing our products including the Galapagos Islands. We really had a great experience. We met many new contacts and we are happy to participate again next year.”
While mentioning that VTM platform has been a great platform to connect with agents, especially when the border to the UAE has re-opened, the spokesperson at Yas Island Abu Dhabi said, “On Yas Island, we are launching new attractions like the Sea World Abu Dhabi which is slated to open in 2022. There are two new hotels scheduled to open in Q4 2021 – The WB Abu Dhabi, Curio Collection by Hilton, and the DoubleTree by Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island Residences.”
Khushbu Vora, Account Manager, Budget Rent A Car said, “It’s good to meet many agents all around, and the best thing is that we got many new agents to meet and introduce.”
According to Kiran Mansharamani from Warq Tourism, this was their 2nd virtual that happened during the pandemic. “We must say that this time we had a terrific experience while participating in the Virtual Travel Mart 2021. The Team at TravelGyaan were accommodating and very helpful. The platform was very well created while keeping all the crucial details into consideration and offered us a great networking opportunity. We made a number of promising business connections during the event and hoping them to turn into a fruitful business in future,” the person added.
While praising VTM platform, Seema Kadam from Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board said, “I was glad to participate in the second edition of VTM this year, and since I was an exhibitor for the 1st edition, I could see all the learning’s taken by TravelGyaan for the second one. In terms of, the software, it indeed was a technologically high standard one with very seamless and easy navigation. Once again, kudos to the TravelGyaan team for making this a spectacular success story.”
According to Rovshan Rahimov from Azerbaijan Tourism Board, “Indeed, the platform was very professional and we had meetings planned and conducted in time. The fact that each stakeholder had 15 minutes, made all of our focus on the main topics and products which we wanted to share with each other. Each of the meetings was alive because of the fluent work of audio and video tools of the VTM platform. We look forward to participating at VTM 2022.”
Sharing his thoughts of promoting Germany in the Indian market, the spokesperson from Germany Tourism said, “In the prevailing scenario it is more feasible and safer to engage with the travel trade via virtual platforms and the VTM team has conceptualised this immaculately. VTM 2021 gave us exhibitors, a wonderful opportunity to meet, re-connect and engage with our Indian buyers. We are glad to be a part of the Virtual Travel Mart 2021 and kudos to Nikita Rawtani and the team for flawlessly executing and organising this Virtual Travel Mart.”