South Asia Travel and Tourism Exchange(SATTE) 2019, South Asia’s leading travel and trade event was organised between January 16 and January 18 at Greater Noida’s India Expo Centre. This was the 26th edition of SATTE and the show witnessed participation from 1,000 exhibitors and representatives from over 50 countries and 90 Indian cities.
UBM India was the organiser of the event, Yogesh Mudras the company’s Managing Director of the expressed optimism at the future prospects of tourism in India “In India the industry is growing at an unprecedented pace with the travel sector expected to grow to a USD 56 billion market by 2020. Moreover, with the industry aiding job creation which is expected to rise at 8.4% in 2028, this year. Also, with proactive measures from the Government such as ease of visa, Regional Connectivity Scheme, launch of Incredible India 2.0 campaign, implementation of Swadesh Darshan, PRASAD, Prayatan Parv and Adopt A Heritage schemes amongst others, India Tourism Industry is set to flourish further.”
Visitors to the expo comprised of tour operators, travel agents, corporate travel decision makers, potential investors in the field of hospitality, wedding planners, leisure and travel industries and location planners from leading Television and Film production houses.
The three day event was in itself like a holiday experience with exotic stalls, ethnic dances in colourful clothing, multimedia presentations, music concerts keeping the visitors thoroughly entertained. The event apart from being a networking opportunity for industry professionals also had great educational value as it featured several symposiums and panel discussions on tourism related matters and awards were also given away in recognition of outstanding performances in the industry.
Ramadan Zaki, the General Manager, Starpoint Tours, Egypt has been a regular participant at SATTE. Zaki described India as a market from where everyone is trying to attract tourists. He stressed that Egypt is much more than just desert tourism and pyramids
“Egypt is a very important destination specially for religious and historical tourism, Egypt is of religious significance for Muslims, Christians and Jewish. India has more than 200 million Muslims and more than hundred million Christians, Eygypt along with Palestine, Israel and Jordan are of religious significance for them. Both Jesus and Mary are believed to have spend time in Cairo, the area which visited is considered as part of the Hajj as well. Even for Jews Egypt is very important because Moses spent most of his life in Egypt his whole took place in Egypt.”
He also highlighted Egypt as one of the best scuba diving and beach destination in the world “Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada contain a high population of dolphins, plenty of fish of various colors and corals in effect making them a world famous diving destination.”
Ravneet Bhalla, Head of Sales and Strategic Partnership, Towno which specializes in customised travel packages said that more and more people are preferring customised travel now a days “Different people have different needs for example some need to travel with a pet the big service providers usually don’t know what to do. Our idea is to set up a system where you can cater to such requirements if you have a pet we would give you a pet friendly resort, if you want a beach resort we would give you a pet friendly beach resort. Customised travel is not something specific to any particular class of travelers all sorts of travelers are interested in it. I have done treks for 40 plus people, I have done treks for families with their small children we have done customized travel which involves adventure sports such as bungee jumping, scuba diving across ages there is a lot of personal touch involved in our services hence the repeat clientele.”
Chandan Jha is the Manager of Sales and Operations at DOOK Travels Private Limited his organisation specialises in offering highly competitive travel packages in eight central Asian and east European countries. Jha described these countries as being very economical in terms of time and finances “In less than Rs 30,000 you can travel to Tashkent for five days getting accommodation, meals and site seeing all covered in that. You would be surprised to know that it is only three and a half hour plane journey from New Delhi to Tashkent it is even less time than travelling to South India.”
He highlighted the weather, cleanliness and rural tourism options of these countries as some of the highlights of these places “The food there is very good and the weather is perfect they like Indians a lot they have very fond memories of Mithun Chakraborty and Raj Kapoor. There is even a restaurant by the name of Raj Kapoor in Tashkent. There are also cultural similarities between us and them.”