SATTE, South Asia’s largest travel and tourism exhibition, recently organised the second edition of SATTE GenX, first virtual travel exhibition of the region. The second edition of the virtual event witnessed the participation of 100 plus exhibitors and welcomed over 6000 visitors who got an opportunity to network and conduct business virtually. The inaugural ceremony witnessed the presence of a host of dignitaries from across the tourism industry and was attended by over 2000 live audience.
Delivering the welcome speech, Yogesh Mudras, MD, Informa Markets India, said, “This two-day virtual expo brings together some of the leading travel and tourism companies, international and state tourism boards and buyers for an impressive networking opportunity. Although, we know that travel and tourism sector is the most impacted, yet the bounce back of this sector is also strong globally. Travel is synonymous with the sense of liberty, connection, and exploring of boundaries, all of which to a large extent has been taken away from us in the last 18 months. This sector has accounted for 35 million direct jobs in India the pre-pandemic world. By 2029, it is expected to account for 53 million direct jobs in the nation. Prior to the second wave, we delivered the 27th edition of SATTE in Greater Noida with the support of all stakeholders. We need to continue the engagements within the industry and SATTE GenX is the industry’s broader plan to gradually reopen the travel, tourism, and hospitality sector. For SATTE GenX, we have got a strong support from international and Indian exhibitors, buyers, associations especially at a much-needed time and this speaks volumes of how this sector is keen to bounce back.”
Speaking about the initiatives taken by MoT to boost domestic tourism, GKV Rao, Director General, Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India said, “Tourism is getting revived slowly, due to the domestic tourism. At this point we are not clear when the aviation sector will open in a full-fledged manner. All concerned ministries are having regular discussions on the opening up of international aviation sector. MoT has started outreach programmes, we are going to different states and are organizing interactive sessions and meetings with the local departments and ministries. We recently organised an event in Ladakh and we did one interactive session in Assam in the North East. All concerned officials from the MoT have been present in these sessions. We are witnessing slight growth in all these destinations. The interstates and intrastate restrictions are being removed. We will also have an interactive session with the guides at a national level. We are coming up with a game plan for capacity building and soon we shall share it with the industry. These initiatives will further give impetus to increase the domestic tourism.
Speaking about the international tourism revival, he further, added, “In terms of vaccination drive, India is on the higher side compared to the world. This will instill courage and confidence amongst the travellers. Even protocols by the airlines are being relaxed in a big way with higher rate of inoculation. Today as most of the outbound tourism is not happening, travellers are exploring India like never before and are travelling to unexplored destinations. The younger generation is thinking differently and are looking for more experiences. If the third wave doesn’t hit us in the next two months, we will have better days in 2022 and tourism; domestic, inbound and outbound will witness significant growth.”
SATTE GenX has played the key role in instilling confidence amongst the industry and also facilitating the industry to stay connected during the time of pandemic.
Lauding the virtual expo, MP Bezbaruah, Former Union Tourism Secretary, Govt of India & Secretary General, HAI, said, “I look upon SATTE GenX as another step in our journey boosting hope and confidence in the industry. SATTE is the mouthpiece of the tourism industry in many ways in the country and abroad. First, we must think of how we can rebuild our business which was totally devastated by the catastrophe. We need to have a comprehensive study on the total damage and what can be done to recover in a more systematic way. Some states have given some reliefs others have not given. There is a need for coordination and harmonization between the states. The ministry of Tourism should come up with a whitepaper about the impact of the pandemic on tourism and the initiatives taken for the revival. We need to develop our domestic tourism and make it a mainstream business. 80 per cent of the hospitality industry feels that this is the way forward. Transparency will be the key in business relationships. Events like SATTE will be at the forefront to ensure that the industry reopens in a systematic manner.”
Echoing similar opinion Abhay Sinha, Director General, Services Export Promotional Council, added, “The entire year was actually built on how to maintain the business continuity. As inbound tourism was not happening, they key factor was to maintain relation with the international partners throughout the year. As a collective effort from the industry and we took the lead, we have got the due SEIS. We are now waiting for the rates and capping for the tourism industry. The industry has suffered in 2021 as well, in the foreign trade policy no incentive has come up from the government for the travel industry. Now, the world is opening up for tourism with flight restrictions and tourist visa restrictions. In the coming months things will be further eased out and international travel will happen. With platforms like SATTE GenX, our role becomes important in how to make connect with the globe. How global embassies will play a catalytical role in promote tourism to India. We were a part of the physical SATTE 2021 in March where we witnessed a great response. SEPC will remain amongst the tourism industry collectively to promote inbound tourism in India.”
With hygiene and safety being the prime focus for the travel industry, the industry is now looking at more sustainable and responsible forms of tourism.
Speaking about the trends Rajiv Mehra, President, IATO, said, “The current status of the industry is moving from uncertainty to the phase of transition, grappling with the effects of survival and revival. Hygiene, safety, and health are the watchwords for the industry going forward. Business travel will going forward see a transformation into hybrid models. Leisure will explore more of affordable luxury, with eco-tourism being a key part of travel. Sustainable tourism and responsible tourism will witness a lot more emphasis in the coming months. Diversification will be the key for the industry going forward. The government should open the e-tourist visa as soon as possible. All flight restrictions should be lifted, and airlines should be allowed to introduce their full schedule.”
SATTE GenX created an opportunity for the stakeholders of the industry to conduct business from location of their choice and connect with the target audience.
Speaking about the engagement, Ajay Prakash, President, TAFI, said, “In effort like this, which brings people from across the globe to interact on a global virtual platform is tremendous as it keeps the spirit alive. We all know that travel will revive. The question to be addressed is how we make our members survive until then and how we can keep the industry healthy until then. With events like this and the other virtual engagements, we have kept our people connected. Domestic tourism is the segment helping the industry revive, but this segment also needs right infrastructure to grow further. There is no dearth of attractions in this country, we need better connectivity, infrastructure and public hygiene. We want tourism to restart but responsibly and in a sustainable manner.”
During the pandemic, domestic tourism has been the growth engine which has helped the industry to survive. The government is now further focusing on developing infrastructure and marketing the domestic products and destinations.
Speaking about the trends in domestic tourism, PP Khanna, President ADTOI, said, “The pandemic has totally changed our lives and the way of working, as we are witnessing here today a virtual platform to meet our business partners. Domestic tourism as we all know is the engine of growth and the key driver for the tourism sector today. Domestic tourism has given us the opportunity to unlock the tremendous potential of India, while creating new products and infrastructure for the country. Unitedly, the efforts of the whole industry, hotels, tour operators, transporters, guides, government bodies such as Ministry of Tourism, State Ministries, and SATTE are doing their best efforts to bring together the stakeholders. Today we are witnessing how SATTE GenX has brought us all together for virtual meetings.”
The entire industry is now focusing on investing on technology and upgradations to harness the potential of the tourism sector in the future. Jyoti Mayal, President, TAAI, said, “SATTE GenX provides a unique platform which facilitates networking and business transactions seamlessly. We need to stay connected to showcase each other’s strength, so that once business restarts, we should be ready to exploit the mutually benefiting opportunities. We need to now focus and invest in the future to rise and succeed as we are truly a resilient industry. The travel fraternity needs to come forward, join hands and develop the unexplored sides of tourism industry in the country. SATTE GenX is certainly an excellent opportunity for the entire tourism fraternity to connect, reconnect, reinvent and explore possible opportunities for getting into strategic collaborations keeping in view the future of travel and the larger benefits attached. SATTE GenX is an antidote and works as a catalyst to help the sector revive and infuse confidence in both fraternity and the travellers.”
SATTE 2022 is now scheduled to take place from January 19- 21, 2022 at India Expo Mart, Greater Noida. Delivering the vote of thanks, Pallavi Mehra, Group Director & Publisher, Informa Markets India, said, “On behalf of SATTE GenX, I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks and I am extremely grateful for Ministry of Tourism, National Tourism Organisations of various countries, State tourism boards, hotels and all exhibitors and visitors for supporting us. Also, I would like to announce that we have scheduled our physical show SATTE 2022 from January 19-22, 2022 at India Expo Mart, Greater Noida.”