The Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) is representing the Indian Ocean nation in the Bharath International Tourism Bazaar (BITB).
Opening in New Delhi last Monday, the event is the first edition of the Berlin travel trade show that has grown to become the largest in the world. Over 300 tourism products are being displayed at the B2B event, with MATATO bringing around a dozen Maldivian products to the 12,000 square metre Pragati Maidan.
“India is one of the fastest growing and largest travel markets in the world, and MATATO intends to have strong presence in India’s leading travel shows with our members and industry partners,” read a press release from the association.
India is the second fastest outbound tourism market in the world, after China, with arrivals to the Maldives growing by almost 15 percent in 2015, and more than 20 percent up to July this year.
Statistics from the World Bank and India’s tourism ministry show that 18.3 million Indians travelled overseas in 2014, compared to 16 million the year before. The UNWTO believes this could grow to as many as 50 million by 2020.
Maldivian resorts and guest houses exhibiting with MATATO at the event include Amilla Fushi, Cocoon Maldives, Dreams Arena, Furaveri Island Resort, Local Island Inn, Soneva, and Summer Island Maldives as well as the soon to be opened Season Paradise hotel in Thulusdhoo.
Travel agents present were ITAW Travels & Tours along with Traveller Street, while Mega Maldives Airlines were also featured. Copies of the ‘guesthouses maldives’ magazine were available to attendees, while the MATATO exhibit featured scenes of the atolls captured by local photographer Aishath Naj for her ‘Two Thousand Isles’ blog.
Organisers have arranged for those visiting the bazaar to take part in 6 ‘power conclaves’ examining specific tourism areas such as aviation, MICE, hospitality and experiential tourism.
“It is undeniably the most robust growth market globally,” explains the BITB website, describing the event as “tourism under one roof, B2B with a difference that includes new motivations to travel, consolidating what is trending in Indian tourism.”
The event will conclude today, October 6.