India’s first virtual travel trade exhibition, ReCONNECT sees intense engagement

India’s first virtual travel trade exhibition, ReCONNECT sees intense engagement

ReCONNECT – the fully virtual B2B travel trade exhibition curated by the organisers of India’s largest travel trade shows

– OTM, BLTM & TTF saw content-rich Inaugural and Conference Sessions on 18th September, followed by two busy business days of virtual meetings and interactions on 21st and 22nd September.

The Voice of Chandigarh News:

ReCONNECT, India’s first virtual travel trade show, conceptualised to help the travel industry to reboot, restart and revive domestic as well as international travel, was inaugurated virtually on 18th September. Intensive buyer-seller interactions took place on 21st and 22nd September on the proprietary virtual platform.

170+ exhibitors and 5,000+ buyers assembled for virtual B2B interactions during the pioneering virtual travel trade exhibition. The platform witnessed 8300+ video meetings totalling to 2000+ hours of face-to-face discussions, and 70,000+ business cards were exchanged.

In the inaugural session, the welcome and theme address on Reconnect and Restart Tourism was delivered by Sanjiv Agarwal, Chairman & CEO, Fairfest Media, Editor & Publisher, Travel News Digest. He said, “We’re hosting ReCONNECT to reboot and recuperate such a vital industry as travel and tourism, which contributes significantly to the national economy. Opening up travel is crucial to help all those whose livelihoods depend on the industry. That is the objective of ReCONNECT, to facilitate the reopening of the travel industry. That’s why we assembled virtually to get back to business at the earliest.”

The Inaugural Session was graced by the Chief Guest, Satpal Maharaj, Hon’ble Minister of Tourism, Govt. of Uttarakhand, who gave the Inaugural Address. Talking of efforts to revive tourism, he said, “I’m pleased to be a part of this virtual B2B travel exhibition ReCONNECT. We’re cognizant of the challenges being faced by the travel industry and are committed to addressing those concerns. We’re providing compensation to 2.43 lakh workers directly associated with tourism activities and undertaking other measures to generate employment opportunities.” “In Uttarakhand, there are no restrictions for tourists carrying a COVID negative test report. We are also incentivising tourists by discounting their stay for up to 3 nights,” he added.

Guest of Honour Meenakshi Sharma, Director General, Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India, delivered the Keynote Address. She said, “I would like to thank Fairfest Media for organising ReCONNECT – a show that is not just relevant today when green shoots of recovery are sprouting but creates a positive atmosphere. I call upon the industry to rethink customer engagement, destinations, state governments and travel service providers to rethink their offerings. The Ministry of Tourism is working with the Quality Council of India under a program called Sathi to put health and safety protocols in place. Tourism will bounce back and domestic tourism will be a key growth driver.”

Other Dignitaries who spoke at the Session included Arvind Bundhun, Director, Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority; Jenu Devan, Managing Director, Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited; Abu Tahir Muhammad Zaber, Director, Joint Secretary, Bangladesh Tourism Board and Fred Okeyo, Ag. Director Market Development, Kenya Tourism Board.

Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority and Kenya Tourism Board joined as ReConnect’s Premium Partner Countries. Tourism Fiji and Spain Tourism were the Official Partners while Bangladesh was the Partner Country. Singapore Tourism Board and India Tourism participated as the Feature Countries. Frankfurt Tourism, Visit Brussels, Zagreb Tourist Board and Visit Jamaica were also present as Feature Destinations for the first time.

The other international destinations represented included Azerbaijan, Australia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Japan, Madagascar, Maldives, Thailand, UAE, UK, Zimbabwe and many others.

Amongst the Indian States, Gujarat Tourism was present as the Premium Partner State, whereas Nagaland Tourism was a Featured Exhibitor. Other states represented included Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

The Ministry of Tourism, Govt of India also set up a virtual booth at ReConnect, extending its vital support for reopening tourism.

Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL) was the Hospitality Partner. helloGTX and Technogram were the Travel Technology Partners while OneAbove was the DMC Partner. STIC Travel Group participated as the Official Partner.

ReCONNECT took place on a proprietary virtual platform that allowed ease of doing business where destinations met on virtual appointments with buyers to rebuild confidence and re-energise travel. Using the AI-powered Smart Matchmaking tool, sellers connected with the most relevant travel trade and corporate buyers for digital networking. Virtual brand promotion, video conferencing and screen sharing – all took place on the ReCONNECT virtual platform.

Over 5,000 registered buyers including travel agents, corporate buyers, wedding planners and event managers met with 170+ B2B suppliers representing 500+ destinations from 18 countries on ReCONNECT. Both the days were very busy with exhibitors and buyers meeting on their pre-fixed as well as on-spot appointments.

ReCONNECT also hosted a global Conference Programme with the best minds of travel and tourism from India, Asia and beyond. More than 25 Leaders from Bidroom, Genesys Digital, Lonely Planet India, Reliance, SAP Concur, Travelstop, Thomas Cook discussed travel in a post-COVID world. helloGTX conducted a special presentation on “How to bounce back as a travel agency post COVID-19?” and Spain Tourism hosted a presentation titled “#SPAINAWAITSYOU” which cast an intimate glance at the various tourist attractions in Spain as well as highlighted the unique celebrations surrounding World Paella Day to the discerning Indian travellers.

ReCONNECT had the support of travel associations including TAAI, OTOAI, ADTOI, MTOA, IATTE, SKAL, FAITH, IATO, TAFI, NIMA, SITE INDIA, ETAA, SATA, GTAA, TOSG, TAAN, VTA, ATAA, TAAS, TAG, TTAUP, HHTDN, EHTTOA, SIGTOA, TTAA, TLC, TAAP, UTEN, SGTCA, TAHAT, ABTO, TAAB, TOAT, HTAA.

The virtual event, designed to provide the long-awaited booster shot to the Indian travel trade community and their global partners, in the wake of lockdowns was a huge success.

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