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COVER STORY

The Indian travel industry logs on to trade-fair bandwagon

Photo: Unsplash

When the global exhibition and trade-show sector is a $65 billion industry with over 31,000 major events taking place and the Indian space is estimated to be worth at Rs65,000 crore with over 700 shows, how can the Indian travel industry be far behind? According to the Indian Convention Promotion Bureau, of a total of 8,294 events tracked, India has a market share of 1.1% (Asia & Middle East has 19.5% share) with an estimated size of the MICE industry in India around Rs4,000crore-Rs5,500 crore. Still a very minuscule part of a global market space of over USD 65 billion!

Trade shows have made a remarkable comeback as a preferred marketing medium for the Indian hospitality and travel industry with over 10,000 exhibitors participating in over 50 travel events in the country. India still has a very young travel and tourism industry with stakeholders still finding ways to enhance reach. Indians as a business community still would like to establish relationships and this is where travel marts have truly helped. The Indian travel industry has greatly benefited as exhibitions is probably the most cost-effective mode of acquiring a customer and plays a big part in maintaining business relationships. Exhibitions have helped the industry create new markets for their products across the country, devise right market entry strategies, and gain immediate feedback.

The exhibitor activity has changed drastically over the years. Now, the marketing activity of exhibitors includes major initiatives such as market research, market-entry showcase, and serious efforts to engage the travel trade. Organizations and companies have been off late using high-end technology to enhance their presentation during the event. One of the most successful marketing models in creating a destination by way of use of travel events is Kerala. The private sector exclusively uses exhibitions as a single most effective mode of marketing over the last fifteen years, and the results are everybody to see.

The venue is a major challenge in India. With the absence of proper convention and exhibition facilities in the country is a major drawback. Even cities like Mumbai and Delhi have no world-class event facilities. Making do with present Event infrastructure and current permissions and licenses required to organize trade-fairs is time-consuming and a sure dampener. The industry should demand a single window agency as procedures are getting more tedious than ever before.

Being a part of the travel event industry is quite mandatory for us to be at various events across the world. The quality of the event infrastructure is a point of envy. Most International travel events across the world also enjoy tremendous patronage from the National Tourist Organization and government bodies, which they see as a booster to their economy. With the Indian travel event industry still at a nascent stage, there is always room for improvement in terms of event operations and marketing. Good event practices and final product delivery in India still needs more fine-tuning and is something we can learn from the events abroad.

One of the most positive trends I have seen over the years is that the visiting trade doing their homework on the type of exhibitors they wish to meet and taking time to get in touch with the exhibitors, fix appointments and explore synergies. There are more structured meetings nowadays than ad-hoc time spent at the event.

With more travel events in India than ever before on different platforms, whether it is on a B2B or a B2C platform and successful events being promoted by Tourism departments of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and recently Jharkhand joining the bandwagon. The way forward for travel trade shows is to establish their right niche and focus. India is a big country and we will see different events catering to different demographical zones, focussed segments as MICE, weddings, Adventure, Outbound, Domestic and inbound, technology etc. We will also more events in Tier 2 & 3 segments adding to the travel event portfolio in the country. With marketing expense on a tighter leash, use of Exhibitions offers the most cost-effective ways to reach out to your consumer.

Infrastructure challenges are currently paramount to the success of this rainbow industry here in India. China has 92 purpose-built exhibition sites spread over three million square meters. India has just 12 exhibition venues that occupy barely 2.6 lakhs square meter of space. India is 40% of China in terms of the size of the economy, but in the exhibitions infrastructure sphere, we are only 9 percent of what China does. Germany on the other extreme has over three million square meters of exhibition space, which considering India’s exhibition industry, is on a different planet altogether!

With longer gestation periods, no Convention Centres make money on the quick run. It is the City Municipal Corporation, to ensure, we create world-class convention facilities. With increased footfalls, increased tax revenues and adding a new employment engine, the city eventually benefits more.  The Indian industry, irrespective of their sectors and verticals, need quality meeting infrastructure. The current ‘Make in India’ mania is useless if we do not have avenues to display and exhibit to a global audience.

The advent of international exhibition companies in India has got the industry tremendous respect and enhanced its professionalism. With the marked increase in the number of stakeholders using the exhibition medium, the industry is only poised to grow.

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COVER STORY

The Indian travel industry logs on to trade-fair bandwagon

Now, the marketing activity of exhibitors includes major initiatives such as market research, market-entry showcase, and serious efforts to engage the travel trade.

Photo: Unsplash

When the global exhibition and trade-show sector is a $65 billion industry with over 31,000 major events taking place and the Indian space is estimated to be worth at Rs65,000 crore with over 700 shows, how can the Indian travel industry be far behind? According to the Indian Convention Promotion Bureau, of a total of 8,294 events tracked, India has a market share of 1.1% (Asia & Middle East has 19.5% share) with an estimated size of the MICE industry in India around Rs4,000crore-Rs5,500 crore. Still a very minuscule part of a global market space of over USD 65 billion!

Trade shows have made a remarkable comeback as a preferred marketing medium for the Indian hospitality and travel industry with over 10,000 exhibitors participating in over 50 travel events in the country. India still has a very young travel and tourism industry with stakeholders still finding ways to enhance reach. Indians as a business community still would like to establish relationships and this is where travel marts have truly helped. The Indian travel industry has greatly benefited as exhibitions is probably the most cost-effective mode of acquiring a customer and plays a big part in maintaining business relationships. Exhibitions have helped the industry create new markets for their products across the country, devise right market entry strategies, and gain immediate feedback.

The exhibitor activity has changed drastically over the years. Now, the marketing activity of exhibitors includes major initiatives such as market research, market-entry showcase, and serious efforts to engage the travel trade. Organizations and companies have been off late using high-end technology to enhance their presentation during the event. One of the most successful marketing models in creating a destination by way of use of travel events is Kerala. The private sector exclusively uses exhibitions as a single most effective mode of marketing over the last fifteen years, and the results are everybody to see.

The venue is a major challenge in India. With the absence of proper convention and exhibition facilities in the country is a major drawback. Even cities like Mumbai and Delhi have no world-class event facilities. Making do with present Event infrastructure and current permissions and licenses required to organize trade-fairs is time-consuming and a sure dampener. The industry should demand a single window agency as procedures are getting more tedious than ever before.

Being a part of the travel event industry is quite mandatory for us to be at various events across the world. The quality of the event infrastructure is a point of envy. Most International travel events across the world also enjoy tremendous patronage from the National Tourist Organization and government bodies, which they see as a booster to their economy. With the Indian travel event industry still at a nascent stage, there is always room for improvement in terms of event operations and marketing. Good event practices and final product delivery in India still needs more fine-tuning and is something we can learn from the events abroad.

One of the most positive trends I have seen over the years is that the visiting trade doing their homework on the type of exhibitors they wish to meet and taking time to get in touch with the exhibitors, fix appointments and explore synergies. There are more structured meetings nowadays than ad-hoc time spent at the event.

With more travel events in India than ever before on different platforms, whether it is on a B2B or a B2C platform and successful events being promoted by Tourism departments of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and recently Jharkhand joining the bandwagon. The way forward for travel trade shows is to establish their right niche and focus. India is a big country and we will see different events catering to different demographical zones, focussed segments as MICE, weddings, Adventure, Outbound, Domestic and inbound, technology etc. We will also more events in Tier 2 & 3 segments adding to the travel event portfolio in the country. With marketing expense on a tighter leash, use of Exhibitions offers the most cost-effective ways to reach out to your consumer.

Infrastructure challenges are currently paramount to the success of this rainbow industry here in India. China has 92 purpose-built exhibition sites spread over three million square meters. India has just 12 exhibition venues that occupy barely 2.6 lakhs square meter of space. India is 40% of China in terms of the size of the economy, but in the exhibitions infrastructure sphere, we are only 9 percent of what China does. Germany on the other extreme has over three million square meters of exhibition space, which considering India’s exhibition industry, is on a different planet altogether!

With longer gestation periods, no Convention Centres make money on the quick run. It is the City Municipal Corporation, to ensure, we create world-class convention facilities. With increased footfalls, increased tax revenues and adding a new employment engine, the city eventually benefits more.  The Indian industry, irrespective of their sectors and verticals, need quality meeting infrastructure. The current ‘Make in India’ mania is useless if we do not have avenues to display and exhibit to a global audience.

The advent of international exhibition companies in India has got the industry tremendous respect and enhanced its professionalism. With the marked increase in the number of stakeholders using the exhibition medium, the industry is only poised to grow.

Continue Reading

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