The 25th edition of SATTE kicked off yesterday in the capital by UBM India. A prelude to the expo, the event was attended in numbers, with some of the most senior names in attendance. The event was inaugurated by chief guest KJ Alphons, tourism minister, GOI, along with T.S. Rawat, Chief Minister, Uttarakhand; Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog; Faiyaz Koya, minister for industry, Trade and Tourism Fiji; I Gde Pitana deputy tourism minister, Indonesia; Bo Keun Choi, senior officer, regional programme for Asia and the Pacific, UNWTO; Subhash Goyal, member, national tourism advisory committee; Navin Berry, Founder, SATTE; Michael Duck, Executive Vice President, UBM Asia and Yogesh Mudras, Managing Director, UBM India.
Speaking at the ceremony, tourism minister Alphons reiterated his commitment of doubling international footfalls and revenue generated from tourism in the next three years, calling it a “possible task”. He asked industry stakeholders to be more forthright in making suggestions and bringing “new ideas to the table”.
In his brief address, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant argued that India’s connectivity with the world was primarily based on air traffic, thus leading to more long-haul travellers from the Americas and Europe. “97.2% of all international travellers come through flights. So, our foreign tourists stay longer, adding to room occupancies and earnings,” he said. He added that while international inbound numbers were not at par with India’s southeast Asian neighbours, tourists were spending “far more money” in India than those countries with significantly more international footfalls.
He also credited SATTE as a platform for helping him understand the finer nuances of travel and tourism industry, eventually leading to the conceptualisation of Kerala Travel Mart during his tenure as Director Tourism in Kerala government.
Yogesh Mudras, Managing Director, UBM India noted that tourism had gained immense importance in boosting nation’s economic growth, contributing significantly to the GDP. “The industry itself has been growing at an unparalleled rate. This is evident from the very fact that the country is now ranked 40th in the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index in 2017, a huge leap of 25 places from 2013. As the disposable income rises and more Indians travel, the industry is only poised to flourish further,” he said.
Navin Berry, Founder of SATTE, expressed pleasure on SATTE achieving the significant milestone and batted for further expanding the gamut of engagement, making the platform “Davos” for travel and tourism in the region. He fondly remembered how an idea of “bringing together the larger industry on one platform”, with the help of some close industry colleagues, had inspired him to create SATTE in 1994.
I Gde Pitana Dy. Tourism Minister, Indonesia called India an important market. “Over half a million tourists from India visited Indonesia in 2017 which is a 29 per cent growth over 2016. Similarly, the number of Indonesian tourists in India has increased by 7 per cent. While 98% of all tourists are satisfied with their visit in Indonesia, 90% find it above their expectations. With Indonesia hosting the Asian Games this year, we expect the tourism sector to further benefit from it,” he said.
Over a span of three days, SATTE 2018 is expected to bring together representatives from domestic and international tourism industries under one roof for business and dialogue.