labels: economy - general, marketing - general
Kerala Travel Mart garners awesome demandnews
James Paul
13 September 2002

Kochi: Kerala Travel Mart (KTM), the premier buyer-seller meet scheduled to be held in the first week of next month, has got into an over-subscription mode with a flood in registration requests from both India and abroad.

''We get requests from 50 to 60 people every day for registration. We will have to say no to many of them. We have already stopped registrations in the domestic sector,'' says Kerala tourism secretary T Balakrishnan. The event, slated from 3 to 5 October 2002 at Hotel Le Meridien, will have better geographical representation than last year.

''We have got more than 600 registrations so far. Many are rushing to us in the last minute. We can give a solid figure only after a couple of days,'' says Balakrishnan. The cut-off date for registrations was fixed for 31 August 2002, but KTM authorities decided to wait a bit to get confirmations.

''We cannot extend the date because we have an accommodation problem. We will be able to entertain late registrations only if those registered fail to confirm,'' says KTM chief executive officer Mathew Philip.

The KTM 2000, which was the harbinger of a unique private-public partnership, had the presence of around 135 companies from across Kerala and 350 buyers across the world. The KTM 2002 will have around 170 stalls and around 150 companies. ''Everything looks bright as of now. We are hoping to have at least 500 people from various countries. Within a few days we would be able to take stock of the reconfirmations,'' says Philip.

This year's mart will also witness increased presence from the UK, Germany and France. And a pleasant surprise will be China. ''We have a small delegation coming from China. There is also participation from Singapore and Malaysia,'' Philip adds. But the travel advisory blight is yet to get over as far as the US is concerned, with only few confirming their participation.

Buyers will also be coming from Australia and West Asia, which is bringing in a contingent of tour operators and travel writers. ''We have representation from all countries from West Asia. They all like to go to the West, but in the post-11 September scenario they are looking out to new areas. South India, particularly Kerala, has caught their attention,'' says Philip.

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Kerala Travel Mart garners awesome demand