Report: EMITT Tourism Fair 2018
Eyeing the Indian Outbound Market
Compared with other global travel events, EMITT, organised in Istanbul, is relatively lesser known in India. India Outbound was present in Istanbul to see how EMITT is trying to bridge the gap in connecting with the Indian travel trade to bring more Indian tourists to the region.
It came as a sweet surprise to spot an India Tourism pavillion right in the middle of the international hall of EMITT, that claims to be one of the top five tourism exhibitions in the world. From a complete outsider’s perspective, the volume of the show does look big, but the composition is still very regional with Turkey in the spotlight and some other key participants sharing the limelight.
With a fairly big pavillion that accommodated a couple of co-exhibitors, the Incredible India booth reflected the interest India generates in the Turkish market. But the event was especially focused on driving outbound traffic from India. In that context, though the event is relatively new for the Indian market, still India Outbound found several trade visitors from India on the floors of EMITT buying as well as selling.
The East Mediterranean International Travel and Tourism Exhibition (EMITT) was held in January 2018 and registered what it says is a record turnout of 54,364 visitors and 1,065 participants from 85 countries. With a 55 pc increase in participants compared to the previous year, EMITT’s organisers say it signals a very positive outlook for the tourism sector in the region.
The event began with the opening ceremony’s high-profile speakers attracting a large crowd. Insights on where the tourism industry is heading were shared by big names such as Turkish Minister of Tourism and Culture Prof. Dr. Numan Kurtulmuş, former UNWTO head Taleb Rifai, Mayor of Istanbul Mevlüt Uysal and Governor Vasip Şahin, President of the Turkish Tourism Investors Association Oya Narin, President of TUROFED Osman Ayık, and President of the Federal Association of Germany’s Tourism Sector Michael Frenzel among others.
Speaking to the media, the Culture and Tourism Minister of Turkey, Dr. Numan Kurtulmus underlined that 2018 would be a much better year for the country’s tourism, which was hit in 2016 by a series of terror attacks and a failed coup attempt. The event was happening at a time when Turkey’s military operation in Syria’s Afrin was also drawing news headlines. But the minister was confident about tourism. “This operation will not have any negative impact on Turkey’s tourism. The sector will see significant momentum in 2018,” he said.
The buzz of the opening ceremony paved the way for a rush of visitors through the doors and on to the show floor to identify new destinations, tourism products, make new contacts, and attend the varied events programme for the visitors who descended on the Tüyap Fair Convention and Congress Center. The visitors’ numbers grew by 15 pc over the previous year.
EMITT is organised by the Turkey office of ITE Group, an international exhibition company that organises more than 240 exhibitions and conferences in 20 countries in the sectors of construction, tourism, cosmetics, food, railway technologies, rail systems, and logistics.
ITE Turkey’s Tourism & Travel & Fashion Group Director Hacer Aydin said, “The tourism sector in Turkey has grown in parallel with EMITT ever since the first day it was held. After 2018, the sector will accomplish its goal to reach 50 million visitors and generate USD 50 billion in revenues. We also broke a world record with over 7,000 approved appointments. We believe that these appointments will pave the way for new investments and collaborations.”
The meetings were mainly centred around 600 high profile hosted buyers coming from all over the world, including India. India Outbound observed that a large number of Indian outbound operators participated in the Hosted Buyer Programme, conducted by TravelShopTurkey, a leading tourism company in Turkey that works closely with Indian partners in various cities. The hosted buyers came not only from Mumbai or New Delhi, but also from many Tier-II or Tier-III cities of India. According to ITE, the show has attracted 40 pc more targeted buyers looking for travel deals to offer their clients. And Indian hosted buyers have a major share of credit to make this programme a success.
“I found the hosted buyer programme a tailored itinerary of one-to-one meetings with exhibitors. I also got the chance to interact with other top buyers of not only my own country but also from 106 other countries. A fam tour was also organised for us for a better understanding of the products that we are supposed to sell,” said Ashwani Gupta an outbound tour operator from Amritsar.
“It should be very interesting for the Indians, because India is very far from Turkey. We are trying our best to connect with the Indian outbound industry as well as the tourists through our participation in various Indian travel and tourism fairs. We are taking extra care of our Indian visitors who have joined our hosted buyer programme. If they are confident about what is on offer, then we will be able to hit the target. We got very good response from the Indian hosted buyers who joined from cities other than Mumbai or New Delhi,’ said Murtaza Kalender, the CEO of TravelShopTurkey, one of the leading destination management companies of Turkey.
“As we know very well that Indian market and their interest in tourism is increasing day by day, we are very careful about cultivating the same. We understand that there is a huge potential of wedding tourism and we are very keen to explore that. Along with Turkish Tourism Ministry, Turkish Airlines and other private players, we expect to spread this message through the Indian visitors, buyers and media,” concluded Hacer Aydin.