Kochi, Sep 26 (IANS) A four-day tourism meet beginning here Wednesday to showcase Kerala and bring the business fraternity together has attracted a large number of delegates from around the world.
The fourth edition of the biennial Kerala Travel Mart (KTM) will be attended by 686 international 'buyers' from 50 countries, apart from 508 business representatives from India. The number of sellers, on the other hand, has crossed 200.
Buyers include airlines, event managers, tour operators, travel agents and others, while sellers include Kerala's hotels, resorts, tour operators, travel agents and others.
'Kerala has definitely matured as one of the best options for an international tourist,' KTM 2006 president Jose Dominic said.
'Unlike the previous KTMs when we depended on free air tickets to bring in buyers, this time only 10 percent buyers are coming on free tickets,' Dominic told IANS.
'Another major difference this time is that all buyers were asked to register through our website and there was a screening committee which checked their credentials. Of these buyers we have declared 650 of them as host buyers who would be eligible for free accommodation during the event,' said Dominic who heads CGH Earth, one of the leading players in the state's tourism industry.
Among the leading buyers at the event are Andy Zaraggen, president of the Swiss Outbound Tour Operators, Nichola Denbigh of Manos Holidays and Mary Ann Denyson of the Britain-based Mahouts.
The KTM 2006 would focus on farm stays, medical tourism, monsoon tours and wedding and honeymoon package tours.