Busy travel season ahead, as witnessed at OTM Mumbai
The Voice of Chandigarh News | Travel Trade Reporter:
Delivering a strong message of rapid post-pandemic recovery, OTM Mumbai successfully culminated its three-day grand reopening on a thrilling note. The marquee event consciously focused on rebuilding the travel and tourism economy in the post-Covid scenario. Resurfacing after a two-year forced sabbatical, the iconic three-day travel trade event rose to the occasion by hosting 800+ exhibitors from over 20+ countries, 29+ Indian States, and 7 Union Territories. Bombay Exhibition Centre once again played host to the leading travel trade show in Asia Pacific with much-anticipated fanfare and gaiety. With the grand success of the 2022 edition, both in terms of participation and footfalls, OTM continues to reinforce its stance as the leading travel trade show in India and the Asia-Pacific. The event successfully brought together all destinations open for business including International Tourism Boards, National, and State Tourism Boards, Hotels & Resorts, Airlines, Destination Management Companies, MICE, Wedding Planners and Bloggers under one roof.
More than 25,000 trade visitors from all over India and abroad attended the three-day B2B exhibition.
Mr. Sanjiv Agarwal, Chairman & CEO, said in his opening address of the awards ceremony: “This edition has had a special significance as a booster of confidence in travel trade. The worst seems to be behind us and it is time to get back to business. As travel and tourism contribute about a tenth of the economic activities, it is imperative that the industry is put back on rails after such a devastation in the last two years.”
“With major travel markets like China having zero-Covid rules, travelling to and from there has become almost impossible at this point of time. Unfortunately, the European market too is beyond reach due to the current political upheaval. Travelling to the USA also comes with mandates like quarantining. Thus, India right now is in a unique position to fill these gaps. Indians, in turn, have also started taking keen interest in destinations closer to home, like Maldives, in order to have a relaxed time at a place where they are welcomed with open arms.”, he added.
The eminent dignitaries who graced the awards ceremony were Dr. Abdulla Mausoom, Hon’ble Tourism Minister, Maldives, Dr. M. Mathiventhan, Minister for Tourism, Government of Tamil Nadu and Dr. B. Chandra Mohan, IAS, Principal Secretary, Tamil Nadu Tourism.
Talking about India-Maldives relationship and the importance of OTM, Dr. Abdulla Mausoom, Tourism Minister, Maldives said, “India-Maldives relationship is very strong. When the world was closed, we were able to have a dedicated travel bubble between Maldives and India, that really helped Maldives tourism. Hence, we are going to be present at all the travel platforms in a very strong manner. Of course, in the year that was the toughest for the travel industry, nearly a quarter of the tourists in Maldives were from India. So, I wish to thank the Indian travel trade for being a part of Maldives tourism… In this regard, OTM is indeed a very important platform. I wish OTM becomes stronger and continues to be a platform for us to do business.”
Dr. M. Mathiventhan, Minister for Tourism, Government of Tamil Nadu commented, “It’s great to see so many people, so many stalls from different states and countries under one roof. The tourism industry was the worst hit industry for the past two years. It is really heartening to note that after almost two years of disruption due to lockdowns, the travel and tourism industry is organising itself for resuming all over India. I congratulate and compliment over 800 participants from 29 states and 20 countries who have assembled here at OTM Mumbai. It is the largest gathering of such scale after the third wave. And I am sure this will contribute in a big way in restarting and reviving the tourism industry in the country and across the world.”
Also present on the occasion were a host of senior-most tourism officials from India and abroad, as well as leaders from the travel and tourism industry. The awards ceremony felicitated the pioneers of reviving travel from India and abroad for their marketing and promotion efforts through these difficult times.
Maldives Tourism was present with a large delegation led by the Tourism Minister, extending its full support to OTM as a Partner Country. Azerbaijan Tourism Board and Nepal Tourism Board were also exhibiting as Partner Countries. Qatar Tourism, Korea Tourism Organization, Singapore Tourism Board and the Department of Tourism of Philippines were showcased as Feature Countries at the event. Their travel suppliers, airlines and hospitality partners got the opportunity to network with selected Indian travel trade. Visit Brussels, Visit Utah, Seychelles, Fiji and Monaco were also showcased at the event along with International DMCs, Hotels, Tour Operators representing Greece, Dubai, France, Madagascar, Russia, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, among others.
OTM saw a major participation from State Tourism Boards in numbers and size for the revival of travel within India, including from Delhi, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Ladakh, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttarakhand. Maharashtra was the Host State of the event. Other destinations like Andaman & Nicobar, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Goa, Jharkhand, Manipur, Punjab, Sikkim, Telangana, Haryana, Puducherry, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal were represented through their private stakeholders.
The event was supported by ‘Incredible India’ and the Ministry of Tourism, who hosted a pavilion, along with private stakeholders and showcased multiple initiatives like Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat, Dekho Apna Desh, etc.
Another major highlight of the event was the OTM Forum, a knowledge-sharing platform that live-streamed for guests on Facebook and YouTube with massive viewers’ login from India and abroad and Asia’s most influential travel leaders brainstorming on the future of travel in thought-leadership interactions. Panel discussions, master classes, and workshops were conducted by top-level executives from industry leaders and C-suite executives from over 100 top brands.
The OTM Forum touched base upon important topics regarding customers expectations under the new normal, in terms of the extent of Covid-restrictions, 2022 digital travel booking trends and the future of the MICE industry. Mr. Abinash Manghani, CEO of WelcomHeritage Hotels shared, “People expect safety protocols like sanitization and hotel staff wearing masks in place. This has also resulted in the rise of private homestays and villas, which offer a more personal, and in turn safer experience.”
The event has received strong support from travel associations across the country including OTOAI, TAAI, TAFI, ADTOI, ETAA, Skål International Mumbai South, Skål International India, IATTE, SITE, NIMA, ABTO, TUC, TOA, ETOAI, MTOA, TAAP, TAAN, UTEN, TAG, TOSG, TLC, SATA, GTAA, SGTCA, TAAS, ATAA, RAAG, VTAA, ATSPB, TAAB, TAHAT, EHTTOA, SIGTOA, TTAA, TOAT, TAAC, TAAK, IFSA.
Media partners also extended their full support to OTM 2022 including India Outbound, Travel and Tour World, Musafir,, Travel Correspondence, BOTT, Sihra News, Travel Techie, Afritraveller, MICE and Travel Around the World, Travel Secrets, TravTour MICE India, the Voice of Chandigarh, Travel Turtle, T3FS.
OTM has raised the bar once again by playing catalyst to Travel & Trade Industry recovery post Covid. The event has not only boosted the morale of Indian and International Travel & Trade Industry as a whole, but also infused a fresh lease of hope to all present on the floor as a testimony of the resilience and strength of the travel comeback in 2022.
The next edition of OTM will take place on 13-15 September 2022 at the brand new Jio World Convention Centre, BKC, Mumbai.