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PATA Travel Mart 2008 hits double Bull’s eye

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has selected the final two sellers from the 2008 PATA Travel Mart’s waiting list to fill the last available booths at the Hyderabad International Convention Centre in India next month, while the number of registered qualified buyers has soared past the targeted 350 to 374…

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has selected the final two sellers from the 2008 PATA Travel Mart’s waiting list to fill the last available booths at the Hyderabad International Convention Centre in India next month, while the number of registered qualified buyers has soared past the targeted 350 to 374.

The Sri Lanka Convention Bureau and Tourism New South Wales are the final two seller organisations, ensuring another sold-out show from September 16 to 19. They join more than 300 other sellers for scheduled business meetings with 374 qualified buyers from 57 countries.

According to PATA Director – Events, Sheila Leong, as many as 171 qualified buyers – or 46 per cent of the total – are first-timers to the Mart, as a result of active nominations initiated by the PTM2008 Indian hosts and the PATA India Chapter.
   
India will provide the largest buyer contingent, with strong growth from Chinese (PRC) buyers, ahead of next year’s PTM in Hangzhou. Europeans continue to dominate the Mart’s broad geographic buyer mix, accounting for 38% of registrations. Asian, Gulf and North American buyers follow, with Pacific and African buyers combining for 10% of the total.

The buyers, vetted by PATA, include 12 new and expanding markets – six Gulf markets, Romania, Slovenia, Brazil, Peru, Cambodia and the Maldives. 

Deputy Chairman of Jetwing Hotels Ltd Hiran Cooray noted: “Over the years, the quality of buyers at PATA Marts has continued to be of a very high standard.”

Former PATA Chairman and Executive General Manager International (Eastern) for Tourism Australia, Richard Beere said: “PATA Travel Mart has rebuilt itself with a very strong collection of special interest and specific segment buyers, and as such it provides a very unique opportunity to target industry sectors and markets.”
   
Mr Beere said: “I attend to identify trends in new markets and to assess new market opportunities, and I believe that this could be a key focus for many businesses given the changing market environment.”

Mr Cooray added: “This year in Hyderabad, we will have an added benefit in meeting quality Indian wholesalers as well. I consider the Mart a must-attend for all our colleagues in the Sri Lankan travel industry.”

To facilitate delegate movements, all available prime foyer space is now earmarked for the PTM2008 hosts: Ministry of Tourism, Government of India; Andhra Pradesh Tourism Corporation; Air India; Network Lounge sponsors; hospitality desks and PATA.

PATA selected India for PTM2008 as the country’s tourism industry is among the strongest, most dynamic in the world and still shows plenty of room for growth.
   
Between 1996 and 2006, the Indian outbound market expanded nearly 10% per year. In 1996, Indians made nearly 3.5 million trips. By 2006, the number of outbound trips topped 8.3 million, according to PATA’s Strategic Intelligence Centre (SIC).
   
PATA President and CEO, Peter de Jong said these outbound numbers combined with a double-digit growth rate in inbound last year to around 5 million make India “one of the shining stars” in Asia Pacific travel and tourism.

“With such a strong outbound performance, and double-digit growth in inbound arrivals, India makes a compelling host destination for this year’s PATA Travel Mart.” 

Australian Tourism Export Council Chairman John King admits inbound tourism to Australia is being affected by declining long-haul markets and significant increases in Australian dollar value, but added: “Now is the time to concentrate on those markets that are continuing to show strong growth. No market for Australia is growing more strongly than India.”

He believes that India is the ideal location for PTM2008. “The PATA Travel Mart provides a very cost effective means of further developing this (Indian) market as well as those of other nearby Asian and Gulf tourism markets.”

VisitBritain Regional Director Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, Keith Beecham is also keen on India. “In recent years Britain has seen a very large growth in visitors from India. Visitor traffic to Britain is currently around the 400,000 mark and is expected to cross the million mark within the next 10 years.”

To zero in on quality buyers, PATA regional directors in China (PRC), Europe, the Gulf region, North America and the Pacific have been working closely with India’s Ministry of Tourism, Air India, Jet Airways and travel trade associations on an aggressive worldwide recruitment campaign.

PTM2008 provides delegates with 40 one-on-one appointments over six business sessions in three days. The Mart also offers several networking opportunities for delegates to meet more of the event’s attendees. 

Delegates can look forward to a full social networking programme, with hosted dinner receptions for all four evenings and sponsored lunches locked-in for all three days of the Mart.

Local sponsors, Indu Projects and Maytas Infrastructure Ltd will host lunches on Wednesday, September 17 and Thursday, September 18. The Macau Government Tourist Office will again host the 2008 PATA Gold Awards Lunch and Award Presentation on Friday, 19 September. This is the MGTO’s 13th consecutive year of sponsoring the Gold Awards.

Another key advantage of being a delegate at PTM2008 is discounted access to a highly informative 90-minute ‘Nielsen Indian Outbound Travel Workshop’ on Wednesday, September 17, at 12.30.

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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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