The Global Panorama Showcase (GPS) concluded in Kolkata after three days of unique business meetings, knowledge sharing and networking among travel trade professionals of the eastern India.
With an intention to uncover the tourism potential of India that lies in the new and emerging markets in the Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, Harmandeep Singh Anand and Rishiraj Singh Anand conceived the initiative with their maiden show in Nagpur way back in 2013. The event, over the last couple of years is striving to provide an opportunity to the travel agents and tour operators to recognise the demand of the secondary and tertiary destinations and improve their infrastructure with a streamlined approach. Encouraged by the response in the later years, the organisers (Jagsons Travels) decided to move out of Nagpur (a city in the western state of Maharashtra) and hold events in all the four corners of the country.
In 2016, GPS with its innovative plans have stretched its boundaries to west of India in Ahmedabad (July 14-16), north India in Chandigarh (July 20-22), east India in Kolkata (July 27-29) and the upcoming Coimabatore show to be held from August 3 to 5 for south India. The latest event in Kolkata took place in ITC Sonar, a luxury property by Starwood Hotels & Resorts in the heart of the city.
Innovation and Education
Surged by the inclusive growth of travel habit all over the world, the travel and tourism industry in India is also witnessing a rapid evolution. Describing the idea behind GPS, co-founder Harmandeep Singh Anand said, “We wanted to bridge the gap between the travel trade professionals of the tier 2 and tier 3 cities. Our aim is to educate and empower the travel fraternity. Our slogan is in sync with our efforts stating innovate, involve, engage and excel.”
The first day of the event was completely dedicated to presentations from various sectors showcasing new products (Starwood Hotels and Star Cruises), educational sessions on the ambiguity of service tax in the travel industry and imparting knowledge on organic business development and marketing skills.
The GPS Kolkata chapter was graced by 50 exhibitors carefully chosen on the merits of their business offerings and opportunities in eastern India and 180 hosted buyers from the region. The CEO of GPS, Raju Akolkar says, “We chose Kolkata for its strategic geographical location and wanted small and medium players of this region to access our programme in the best possible environment. We understand the ground level issues of the tier 2 and tier 3 cities and wanted to address them.”
Albeit the challenges of a relatively new show in the travel industry, GPS seems to address their agenda quite well. The show has successfully gathered the global exhibitors and domestic buyers exchanging all kinds of kinds of travel and tourism services and products. While travel agents in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities failing to attend all the major travel marts and events held in the country and abroad, GPS tries to bridge the gap and also dissolve the fear of communication.
The event aims to motivate travel agents to ask and seek more information of tourism product available in the country. Owner of Supreme Tours & Travels, Koushik Bannerjee said, ”the seminars were interesting and I am happy that the problems of the traditional travel agents are dealt with care. We have a cope up with the huge competition from the online travel portals but the importance of physical travel consultants would never exhaust.”
Exhibitor in the show, the national head of ezeego, Amit Paul Singh said, “We are here to launch the Ex-Kolkata Andaman package for the eastern region on our portal. I am happy with the footfall in the event and it seems to be a very good platform to understand the small and medium markets which is growing very rapidly.” Comparing the traditional and online travel business, Amit asserts, “We follow the western markets and thus it is very evident that online is the future.”
Albeit the difference of opinion in the traditional and emerging trends of travel business, GPS tries to capture and restore a homely atmosphere in the event encouraging dialogues from all the markets. In the words of Madhu Saliankar, Director of Sales & Marketing, GPS, ”We are aiming at business development and new opportunities in emerging markets encouraged by the reports of growth in the domestic & international travel and its positive effects on the Indian travel industry.”
The GPS app
GPS is probably the first business to business travel show that has integrated a unique online application for smartphone users. The event aims to go paperless in its next editions and encourages pre-registration on the app which also details the programme and show agenda in the most comprehensive pattern. Harmandeep while discussing the advantages of the app said, “The GPS app will be a marketplace of information and contacts for the travel industry professionals in the future. This is our attempt to go green and we think we can achieve it completely when we come back in 2017.”
GPS integrates Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as a major section in their business model with affiliation to ten odd Non Governmental Organisations in Nagpur encouraging a new form of tourism called voluntourism.