The just-concluded Virtual Travel Mart (VTM) by TravelGyaan witnessed tremendous business meets, buyer-sellers interactions, taking major strides in overcoming the apprehensions Covid-19-induced and bringing back the vitality of tourism in a post-pandemic situation.
The second edition of Virtual Travel Mart (VTM2021) was held on September 15-16. The mart witnessed potential travel trade buyers and exhibitors. The organizer of the event Nikita Rawtani, Founder, TravelGyaan tells that VTM2021 provided the perfect playground to stay connected and focused on building strong partnerships which ultimately results in friendships.
Sharing some exciting details, Nikita tells, “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 the eligible attendees to learn and win prizes. 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 were given by TravelGyaan and Giveaways from Switzerland and Macao Tourism.”
Saudi Tourism Authority, who was also the official Destination Sponsor at the event felt that Virtual Travel Mart was an opportunity to showcase Saudi to a wide range of tour operators looking for diversified products. The spokesperson from the authority shares, “As we continue to drive awareness of Saudi as a new, exciting leisure tourism destination, our stakeholders and partners were also given a platform to gain a deeper understanding from the travel trade on the requirements of the Indian traveller. Saudi is a destination with great appeal to Indian travelers seeking authentic cultural experiences and extraordinary natural beauty. VTM was a great opportunity to connect with travel agents and tour operators to explore ways to help more Indian travelers experience the timeless welcome of Saudi.”
Through VTM, Saudi Tourism Authority witnessed a lot of changes in the consumer pattern, with more of a shift towards longer stays in general and spending more time at each destination. They also felt that there is more of a demand for free independent travel (FIT) when compared to group travel, while at the same time the travel trade is keen to understand more about sustainable and responsible tourism options that incorporate a comprehensive set of health and safety protocols.
As AlUla is the most recent destination for the Indian travel sector, the Royal Commission for AlUla feels that VTM was a great networking platform and a well-organized event to connect with the trade. The spokesperson from AlUla shares, “The virtual platform was good and user-friendly. Together our team had some fruitful meetings in two days. Besides the agents from Mumbai and Delhi, the event had a good database of travel agents from tier II & III cities. However, there were some no-shows. We would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to Visit Saudi for giving the opportunity to the Royal Commission for AlUla to showcase the hidden gem of Saudi Arabia, AlUla to the industry stakeholders. Thank you VTM team and look forward to collaborating in the future for such events.”
The spokesperson of Kurban Tours – The Horizons Tours shares that it was a great experience to participate in VTM. He tells, “It gave me the opportunity to meet lots of new clients and to explain about our Saudi products. The show was very good, clients came to the meetings and I had some potential to meet. Saudi is a new gem that is open now for tourists. We have also launched our Umra plus packages, VTM allowed us to launch it and promote it in the market.”
Paramjit Bawa, Country Manager – India, Destination New South Wales asserts, “VTM 2021 has been a good experience for Destination NSW and we’re happy with the participation. Nikita and her team have done a great job. It was a good experience, noted good attendance from trade in terms of booth visits, appointments and presentation attendees.”
Bawa also shares that with Australian borders still closed to Indian visitors, the majority of queries were around timelines and expectations of border re-openings.
Arzan Khambatta, – Head, Macao Government Tourism Office- India believes that VTM 2021 provided MGTO a platform to interact with over 200 travel members across India. Sharing further he comments, “It’s always a pleasure to associate with Travel Gyaan. I was honored to be a panelist and exchange ideas on the importance of the ‘destination weddings’ segment, with other experts from the tourism industry. Our valuable travel partners are eager to learn about the destination and we were successfully able to educate our valuable travel members about the new developments in Macao.”
Arzan expects that outbound numbers from India will witness an increase, once more countries lift their travel restrictions. He adds, “We are patiently waiting for Macao’s international borders to open. Indian travellers are well-informed and there is certainly a demand for leisure travel to Macao.”
Spokesperson of Switzerland Tourism tells that during VTM, Switzerland Tourism along with Swiss Travel System and the Switzerland Convention & Incentive Bureau have highlighted the different products available for leisure and MICE travellers.
Talking about the new experiences, they mention, “Some of the experiences that have been highlighted include the new Lindt Home of Chocolate in Zurich, the Eiger Express cableway on Jungfraujoch, The Circle Convention Centre at Zurich Airport, the new hotel openings as well as our two travel trade training programs, the Switzerland Travel Academy which has been revamped, as well as the Swiss Travel System Excellence Program which is the only training program worldwide to cover the entire public transport of a country.We had a great experience at the Virtual Travel Mart 2021. The quality of visitors was excellent and consistent across the two days, and we’ve had some interesting conversations. The support we received from TravelGyaan was outstanding – they worked above and beyond to ensure that it all went off without a hitch! The VTM platform too was smooth and user-friendly.”
“In the prevailing scenario it is more feasible and safe 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,” comments spokesperson of German National Tourist Office (India).
Seema Kadam, Regional Director-India, Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board shares, “I was glad to participate in the second edition of VTM this year, and since I was an exhibitor for the first edition, I could see all the learning 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. Though nothing compares to in-person meetings, I almost felt like talking to the travel trade across the table in a secure environment. Once again, kudos to the TravelGyaan team for making this a spectacular success story.”
Sara Sodhi Juneja – Country Manager India & UAE, Visit Finland says that VTM offered Finland a great opportunity to reconnect with travel fraternity and update them on the latest updates for travel to Finland. She also mentions, “The event platform and interface were extremely user friendly. The event was also very well attended and very productive for us. I wish VTM all the very best for Season 3.”
Rovshan Rahimov, Regional Manager – South Asia, Azerbaijan Tourism Board asserts, “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 we wanted to share with each other. Each of the meetings was alive because of the fluent work of audio and video tools of VTM platform. We look forward to participating at VTM 2022 as well.
For Atlantis The Palm, Dubai, this was the first virtual trade fair, and they feel it was a successful event. Neil Shah, Account Director- Sales, Atlantis Dubai shares, “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.
Atlantis Dubai has recently completed in Q1 of 2021 a thorough renovation costing a reported USD 100 million and they used the VTM as a platform to communicate these new offerings to the travel trade.
Bernadette Willemin, Director-General Marketing, Tourism Seychelles shares that they were happy to participate in VTM 2021. He adds, “The platform was user friendly and the pre-fixed meeting format allowed some good b2b meetings with both tier 1 and tier 2 tour operators across the 2 days. We would like to congratulate the TravelGyaan team for putting up a good show and assisting us with on-time support during live meetings. We wish the team good luck for their future endeavours.”
Yatiraj Kabra, Head- Sales & Marketing, Guideline Travels tells that VTM 2021 was an event where they could connect with their travel colleagues from Pan India from the safety of their office. He shares, “It was a well-participated event with a lot of pre-scheduled meetings and visitors available throughout the day. The most important factor of the entire show was no downtime on the host website which usually would happen in an event of such scale. All in all a great event and we look forward to many more such events in the coming future.”
Kiran Mansharamani from Warq Tourism shares, “To begin with, this was our second virtual event in which we exhibited during these Covid times. We had a terrific experience while participating in the Virtual Travel Mart 2021. The Team at Travel Gyaan was accommodating and very helpful, you guys made sure our online event went off without a hitch. 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 they to turn into fruitful businesses in the future. We can say that all is not lost because of Covid, we’re glad to be a part of this event.”
Teresa Nebauer and Alexandra Molina from Andean Travel Company thanked TravelGyaan for organising the event. They share, “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.”