BITB’s launch edition, powered by ITB Berlin, concluded on a high note with overall high satisfaction levels from everybody. This was the biggest showcase on Indian hospitality. Every major chain was there on the floor, with their senior leadership upfront. Over a dozen states participated, some of them with large representations from the private sector. Leading airlines such as Air India, Jet Airways, Etihad and Indigo lent full support. About 15% of the exhibitors were from overseas, which was considerable, considering that overseas players need longer lead time to plan their calendar of activities. This year, in our desire to be at the right time for Indian buying, which is around September-October, we were able to give only three months’ time for exhibiting. So, this was somewhat expected, when people contacted preferred to ask us for our dates in 2017, instead.
Buyers was one area of concern. Some of the Indian exhibitors had a high expectation that there would be foreign buyers, based upon our past legacy; unfortunately, some of these programs for inviting foreign tour operators took time to materialise, and there was finally little time to invite productive buyers from overseas. Eventually, we had 38 of them, who visited the show.
We had started with the belief in the Power of Indian buying, for both domestic and outbound. We notched 680 hosted Indian buyers, on different programmes. Over 500 of them did repeat visits of the show, and many of the exhibitors reported good business.
We remain grateful for the overall support and enthusiasm. The single biggest point in our favour was the genuine interest of the trade to have a serious business platform for the industry, something that has gone missing over recent years. It is here that BITB was filling an important gap, in ensuring that the overall industry, including the new verticals like weddings and technology, can look forward to an annual coming together of their business interests. BITB is here to stay in its unique niche as the all-industry forum for travel and tourism, in its diverse manifestations.
Our mission was to bring back sharp focus on tourism, focus on senior leadership that had moved away from trade events, and bring serious business networking to an Indian event. In these, more than anything else, we were eminently successful. These pages bring images from BITB 2016 – those who missed being there, will witness how the mission was a true success.