The year 2021 is beginning on a hopeful note for the travel and tourism industry. With the vaccination drive underway, traveller confidence seems to be coming back. Air travel has exceeded 85% of its pre-covid levels. There is already a strong revival of demand for domestic leisure travel and hotel bookings have reached three-fourth (75%) of pre-covid levels.
While international travel may restart later in the year, business travel within India has also recovered almost half-way (50%) and is soon likely to reach the levels of previous year, according to leading travel agents.
TTF Kolkata, the oldest travel trade show in the country is back on the ground, manifesting the revival and setting the wheels of the tourism industry in India with confidence. The 2021 edition of the show is bringing the best and most of the travel industry under one roof for reviving and restarting tourism in India. More than 140 exhibitors and representatives from 15 states are showing up at TTF, from 26-28 February at a brand-new venue Uttirno in Alipore, in the heart of the city.
TTF Kolkata was inaugurated in the august presence of Ms Nandini Chakravorty, Principal Secretary, West Bengal Tourism, state tourism officials from all over India, and stalwarts of the travel and tourism industry.
“We are extremely happy to report that the confidence in domestic travel is growing by leaps and bounds”, said Mr Sanjiv Agarwal, Chairman & CEO, Fairfest Media, the organisers of TTF – the oldest and largest travel tradeshow network in India. “This is the reason we launched a special series of shows in Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Mumbai in Feb-Mar this year, to assemble pioneers in reopening travel destinations, to market in the top three markets in India.”
West Bengal Tourism has joined as the Host State of the show while Gujarat is the Premium Partner State and the Statue of Unity the Partner Destination. Uttarakhand and Rajasthan are the Partner States. Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Jammu & Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Nagaland, Tripura and Jharkhand have come onboard as Feature States, alongside key private players from DMCs, the hospitality sector, aviation and others. Air India is the Official Partner of the show this year too. India Tourism also has a big presence at the show, like every year.
This year, TTF Kolkata is also hosting a panel discussion on Domestic tourism: Leading the way in reviving travel & tourism in India, right after the inaugural ceremony. In addition, Rajasthan Tourism is hosting a destination presentation for travel agents. Some other tourism boards might host similar presentations on the remaining days of TTF Kolkata.
TTF Kolkata has the support of TAAB, TAHAT, OTOAI, ATOAI, TAAI, ADTOI, IATO, IAAI, ETAA, SKAL Club Kolkata and TAFI.
TTF Kolkata is catering to the tourism industry in the region, at a strategically important time as green shoots of recovery sprout after a dismal 2020. It is a great opportunity for the travel trade to network and rekindle business relations with the tourism industry stakeholders from the region.
TTF Kolkata 2021-one of the very first and major travel trade shows to be hosted in 2021 will be followed by TTF Ahmedabad on 4th, 5th and 6th March. Both shows will culminate in the grand finale OTM Mumbai, to be held at the Bombay Exhibition Centre on 19th, 20th and 21st March.
The Government of India has given a fresh push to reviving domestic tourism under its Dekho Apna Desh initiative and TTF Kolkata promises to add to the country-wide efforts in reviving tourism. The Ministry has also revised its Market Development Assistance (MDA) scheme at the beginning of the year to incentivize and upskill the travel trade fraternity. One of the biggest draws of the MDA happens to be the financial incentives chalked out for travel agents, tour operators as well as state tourism boards for participating in trade fairs.
(By Pratyusha Mukherjee)