According to the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), India´s as well as the South Asia’s position in the world tourism is increasingly becoming more significant both as a destination and as a source market. Tourism is among one of the leading economic sectors of the world, surpassing 1.4 billion in international arrivals in 2018, two years ahead of the forecasted time. South Asia, which achieved astonishing growth rate of 9 per cent in 2017, has continued to show increase in the first 9 months in 2018, reinforcing its potential as a destination as well as the source market. As 2019’s first international tourism event from the South Asia region, SATTE 2019, that recently concluded in Delhi NCR on January 16-18, has continued to play an integral part in South Asia’s growth as a tourism destination and has helped the global stakeholders develop the source market potential of the region as well.
Speaking at the inaugural function of the event at India Expo Centre, Yogesh Mudra, Managing Director of UBM India, said, “Over the years SATTE has built a reputation of being one of the most comprehensive B2B platforms catering to domestic and international buyers and professional from across the travel, tourism and hospitality sectors along with the national and state tourism boards. This has also enabled professionals to congregate and conduct business, arrive at solutions and innovations to counteract economic uncertainties by promoting inbound, outbound and domestic tourism in India. On our part, we have pulled all socks to celebrate this 26th edition of SATTE and the growth of this sector. This 26th edition of SATTE is the largest SATTE ever, spread over 25,000 square meters of gross area. On behalf of UBM India, I hope we make most of this unique platform that has been created over the years that understands entertains and celebrates all of us.”
Former Union Minister of State for Tourism and currently Union Minister of State for Culture (I/C), Mahesh Sharma, was the Chief Guest at SATTE 2019. Sharma, who represents the Gautam Budh Nagar constituency where the Greater Noida’s India Expo Centre, venue of SATTE 2019, is located, said, “I congratulate everyone involved in bringing the South Asia’s biggest travel and tourism exhibition, the prestigious SATTE to my parliamentary constituency. Other than SATTE and UBM, I am your Chief Co-host too,” he said.
Sharma pointed that being the largest travel and tourism event in the Indian sub-continent, SATTE’s role is integral to taking India’s and the region’s tourism to new heights. He said that the visionary Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi has undertaken great initiatives but impressive results cannot be achieved in isolation unless banners like SATTE is a part of tourism growth story that India and the region wants to script.
“The country’s and the region’s tourism will not thrive and grow unless institutions like SATTE are an integral part of that vision. Tourism contributes 6.8 per cent of our GDP. We have seen tourism growth by up to 13 per cent in terms of number of foreign tourists and in financial terms it contributes 1.56 lakh crore of foreign currency that India earns from tourism. We understand the potential,” said Sharma underscoring SATTE’s role in building the story of India tourism envisions.
Sri Lanka, one of the emerging tourism hotspot in the region has been participating in SATTE for a long time. Despite a challenging 2018 because of political turmoil in the island nation, Sri Lanka’s travel and tourism industry has witnessed a quantum leap in tourism over the last few years growing at double-digit figures year after year. India is Sri Lanka’s biggest tourism source market contributing over 424,000 in 2018. And as Sri Lanka tourism makes a sprint for 500,000 in Indian visitor arrivals this year, the destination showcase at SATTE at the beginning of the year is key to its target from India as well as from across the world.
Leading a strong delegation of Sri Lankan tourism suppliers to SATTE 2019, “John AE Amaratunga, Sri Lanka’s Minister of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs, said, “I am extremely pleased to be here participating in South Asia Travel & Tourism Exchange. On behalf of the Sri Lanka Tourism, I would like to extend a warm welcome to all present here. Being held for the 26th consecutive year SATTE has grown from strength to strength over the year to become the South Asia’s leading travel and tourism show.”
“As far as last tourism data recorded in Sri Lanka, 20 per cent of all tourists that came to Sri Lanka last year, originated from India. This is the highest ever number of Indians who have visited Sri Lanka in a calendar. It is not secret that India for Sri Lanka is the most important and the biggest tourism market. And we want a close relationship between the two countries to achieve millions of bilateral tourism,” added Amaratunga further, reinforcing SATTE’s growing profile as a platform to showcase to trade buyers from not just India but all over the world in order to grow the country’s tourism interests.
Expressing “great pleasure” for Malaysia to take part in SATTE again this year, YB Tuan Muhammad Bakhtiar bin Wan Chik, Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia, said, “I am pleased to see the huge interest in Malaysian tourism. India has always been an important tourist market for Malaysia and SATTE is one of the major tourism platforms that we look forward to attending each year. This year we have got a bigger Malaysian tourism delegation to SATTE comprising almost 40 organisations, from travel agencies, hotels and resorts, tourism authorities, tourism product owners to airlines and state governments. We all are excited to be here at SATTE again to kick off another tourism year in a good spirit. I wish to extend my appreciation to the organizer of SATTE for putting together another successful event.”
Malaysia has set a target of 30 million international tourist arrivals by 2020, and sees India as one of its key tourism source markets that will help the country achieve its tourism target. It received around 26 million tourists in 2017. The number is expected to be closing in on 27 million international tourists this year. According to provisional figures, shared by the Minister at SATTE, Malaysia is expectedly received close to 600,000 Indian visitors in 2018.
Indonesia that has been participating at SATTE year after year witnessed a robust 29 per cent growth in 2017 with close to 500,000 Indian arrivals. And, despite a number of natural calamities, the country has recorded double digit growth in 2018 as well in Indian arrivals. Indonesia was the feature country destination SATTE 2019 and made a big splash showcasing the country’s massive diversity and products at the inaugural dinner that it hosted.
Attending SATTE 2019 with a strong Indonesian suppliers’ contingent in order to grow Indian market into a stronger future source market, Indonesia’s Deputy Minister of Tourism Marketing, Nia Niscaya, said, “It is really good for Indonesia to be a feature destination at SATTE 2019. Indians coming to Indonesia has grown by 11 per cent. This is really great and there is more room to grow. Now, there is direct flight from Mumbai to Bali.” She also pointed that Indonesia is so much more than Bali, which is one of the 17,000 islands the country comprises of. She drew attention to Batang and Bintan islands, among other destinations, which are very close to Singapore, less than an hour ferry, and can be conveniently included in the itinerary of Indians travelling to Singapore at cost as low as SGD 33.
Welcoming participants at the 26th edition of SATTE 2019 on behalf of UNWTO, Eunji Tae, Officer, Regional Department for Asia and the Pacific, UNWTO, said, “UNWTO is truly proud to share a long-standing partnership with SATTE and its partners. Together, we share the same concerns and vision in advancing tourism in a global and regional context. As South Asia´s leading travel event, SATTE is indeed an excellent showcase for its tourism industry, not only within the region, but also of the world. As one of the New Year´s first meetings of the international tourism community, SATTE is setting the excellent stage for a year of strong cooperation, dialogue and meaningful advancement in tourism.”
Also speaking on the occasion, Subhash Goyal, Member, National Tourism Advisory Council, said, “Many years ago we wanted to have an exhibition (In India) where the small Indian tour operators who cannot afford to go to ITB or WTM, could showcase their product here in India. And that was the beginning of SATTE and that time I was the president of Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO). We sat together and we started this South Asian Travel & Tourism Exchange (SATTE) programme. And this is a dream come true that SATTE today has more than 50 countries. We now want the SATTE to be even bigger and better and probably have more than 100 countries at the next SATTE. We want it to be bigger than ITB and WTM, and why not. We can do that by owning SATTE and making it a real success.”
The three-day event witnessed live performances to draw trade buyers’ attention to the exhibitors and their products and offering, destination briefings, business workshops, meetings, awards, networking evenings, rich conferences, among others. SATTE 2019 was attended by over thousand exhibitors from 50 plus countries, 28 Indian states and drawing trade buyers not only from every part of India, but also from the region as well as around 200 international buyers from across the globe.
Commemorating the 25th edition of SATTE and the show’s Silver Jubilee celebration that started last year, UBM India this year partnered with Green Yatra, a non-profit organization for a cleaner and greener Delhi NCR region. The initiative is dedicated towards the protection, conservation and betterment of the environment to support the initiative of government for cleaner and healthier Delhi NCR region and enhancing the region as a tourism spot.
Thanking all the industry partners, exhibitors, sponsors and the various associations for extending all the support, Pallavi Mehra, Group Director, UBM India and Publisher, Travel Trends Today (T3), said, “SATTE 2019 has seen participation of various new destinations and has welcomed a record number of buyers and exhibitors from across the globe to become the biggest edition thus far.” She also hoped that more and more exhibitors will come back to the SATTE 2020 edition the next year.
The event also witnessed participation of several leading captains of the industry and associations like Indian Association of Tour Operators, Travel Agents Association of India, Federation of Hotels and Restaurant Association of India, IATA Agents Association of India, Association of Domestic Tour Operators of India; Travel Agents Federation of India; Enterprising Travel Agents Association; Skal International and India, PATA, Cruise Line International Association, TOFT Tigers, Adventure Tour Operators Association of India; Network Of Indian MICE Agents, Association of Corporate Travel Executives, Indian Tourist Transporters Association, India Golf Tourism Association; Outbound Tour Operators Association of India; Ecotourism Society of India, among others.