International travel trade show commences
Mumbai, Feb 9 : The India's biggest international travel trade show, OTM 2013, opened at the Bombay Exhibition Centre here today.
Spread over two lakh square feet, more than 900 exhibitors from 26 countries and all over India are taking part in the trade show.
The largest international participation is from countries like Sri Lanka, Turkey, China and Thailand, which are the partner countries of the OTM 2013.
Other international participants are from Bhutan, Canada, China, Dubai, Egypt, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Macau, Maldives, Mexico, Nepal, Philippines, Russia, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, USA and many more.
Okinawa, a Prefecture in the southernmost part of Japan, is this year's Focus Destination.
Bahrain, West Australia and Zambia are represented for the first time in OTM.
As a major attraction this year, OTM Mumbai will showcase the leading brands of the global cruising industry in its Cruise Hub. The cruise lines being represented in the hub are: Star Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), MSC Cruises, Silversea Cruises, Holland America Line, Seabourn Cruises, Windstar Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises and Costa Cruises.
The domestic sector, the backbone of the Indian tourism industry, also has a huge presence at the event. Almost all states are taking part in the event.
Partner states this year are Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Gujarat and Odisha.
Karnataka and Punjab are also participating enthusiastically as feature states.
Maharashtra Tourism has a large pavillion. Hundreds of hotels and other travel service providers have joined in the state pavillions.
Other states represented in the fair with large pavillions include Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Delhi, Goa, Haryana, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
India is a coveted outbound market, with 12 million Indians travelling overseas annually and a projected growth of 12-13 per cent per year till 2015. This is reflected in participation from over 26 countries.
Mumbai is the largest travel market in the country, generating one-third (33 per cent) of all India-outbound travellers, followed by Delhi, which generates about one-fourth (26 per cent).
'Despite the economic growth slowing down, the tourism sector is likely to show robust sentiments,' said Sanjiv Agarwal, chairman and chief executive of Fairfest Media Ltd, who has been organising travel shows across the country for 20 years.
Many participating destinations will be organising seminars and cultural presentations at the venue.