We need to ensure that the industry is future-ready to tap all potential growth opportunities and also to safeguard it against all kinds of crisis situations including natural disasters and pandemics.
A glimpse from the venue of SATTE Expo in January 2020 (File Image)
SATTE 2021- South Asia’s leading travel trade exhibition is all set to host its 28th edition from March 24-26, 2021 at India Expo Centre, Greater Noida, Delhi NCR. The event happening in physical form is a confidence building initiative. Tourism and hospitality industry which came to a standstill for a year will get an opportunity to network and interact. This will give a push to the much-awaited revival in the industry. Here’s an excerpt of an interview with Yogesh Mudras, Managing Director, Informa Markets in India, the official organizer for SATTE 2021 with Financial Express Online on this year’s expo and what will it take to revive the tourism industry from Covid-shock.
How has the experience been of organizing a show like SATTE? What can T&T professionals hope to gain from visiting this coveted industry expo?
SATTE, South Asia’s leading travel trade exhibition, is an important milestone in getting the industry back together to revive the business. With the government also recognizing B2B marketplaces as key for stimulating industrial and commercial development, it has been heartening to see an all-around interest and support for hosting this event. In the face of constant odds and fluctuating circumstances, I would like to acknowledge the enormous efforts made by everyone engaged in making this event a reality and the opportunity we’ve got to serve the industry in the most memorable way possible.
Professionals visiting this coveted industry expo can look forward to an enriching experience and a grand unison of digital and physical solutions, including for brand promotion, networking and building connections, generating business leads, marketing intelligence and industry insights, etc. All these elements will no doubt help in providing the impetus the sector keenly requires.
What are the key features of SATTE this year?
At Informa Markets in India, we start our calendar of physical shows with SATTE each year and are delighted to be back to the world of physical expos with this much loved travel and tourism expo. Scheduled for 24th to 26th March 2021, at the India Expo Centre, Greater Noida, Delhi – NCR, SATTE will see participation from cross-sections of the industry to and has garnered great support from the Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India, Service Export Promotion Council (SEPC) of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Ministry of Ayush and State Tourism Boards such as Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Karnataka, Jammu and Kashmir to name a few. While Nepal, Maldives, Malaysia and Utah are joining SATTE 2021 to share their product profile and strategy to lure international travellers. Private players such as TravelBoutiqueOnline, ITC WelcomHeritage, My Value Travel, Destination India, Nix Tours, Hora Tourism and Rayna Tours amongst others are also participating in SATTE this year. We continue to have the support of international organizations/associations and Indian travel trade associations.
SATTE 2021 conference will present a host of thought-provoking knowledge sessions and explore topics such as Domestic tourism: Exploring unexplored; Technology: Adopting SMART tourism; Luxury tourism: outbound alternative?; International tourism: Tackling pandemic impact; Religious tourism: potential untapped; Wellness Tourism: the big opportunity and Women in travel to name a few.
SATTE is being organised with due diligence, further ring-fenced by Informa’s AllSecure health and safety standards. As the world’s leading events’ organiser, Informa has developed a detailed set of enhanced measures to provide the highest levels of hygiene and safety at its events, providing everyone with the reassurance and confidence that they are participating in a safe and controlled environment
As a leading player in organizing exhibitions, how do you foresee the recovery in this industry? How much time do you think it will take for the industry to resume operations comparable to pre-2020?
While the pandemic dealt an enormous blow, that we learnt to deal with and adapt well to, we need to be forward thinking and recovery forecast seconds this with a double digit recovery projected in the next fiscal. The efficient vaccination drive will continue to result in increased confidence and amplify the pent-up demand for physical meetings. Throughout the lockdown, we relentlessly worked hard to keep sailing with over 125 well-appreciated digital events that kept the industry engaged. Going forward, we have a number of hybrid events combining the best of physical and virtual platforms. I am optimistic about a resounding revival in the industry and growth should be more robust by the third and fourth quarters of the year. More importantly, we are ensuring that the growth is not at the cost of safety and sustainability.
As per WTTC, during 2019 contribution of travel and tourism to India’s GDP was 6.8% of the total economy, i.e. 194.30 billion, with COVID distorting the businesses. What feedback have you received from stakeholders for SATTE 2021 for the path forward?
All stakeholders that we have interacted with in the run-up to SATTE 2021 are upbeat about the future and about the efforts we all need to put together for the revival. Two common themes that have emerged are ensuring safe and sustainable growth and greater use of the latest technology solutions. These can be leveraged to build further inroads into niche, in demand segments like Domestic leisure business, and wellness and health tourism that will enhance Atmanirbharta, as envisaged by the government.
We need to ensure that the industry is future-ready to tap all potential growth opportunities and also to safeguard it against all kinds of crisis situations including natural disasters and pandemics. The growth prospects of the travel and tourism industry are undisputed and its contribution to the overall GDP can only go up. All stakeholders are also unanimous in their approach that the costs must be kept under check, especially after witnessing such a body blow during the pandemic. Also, the industry is very enthusiastic about a hybrid model of events wherein the best of both physical and digital worlds can be enjoyed for the benefit of all stakeholders. Also, there has been a tremendous response for all future events, while the government has also been very encouraging in its support to the industry.
Do you see the hybrid model of virtual and physical trade shows co-existing in the coming years? How will the hybrid format change trade expos?
Hybrid is certainly the keyword for trade shows going forward and to make the exhibitions sector future-fit. The hybrid model will also help the industry achieve greater participation from across the world at lesser costs and in an efficient manner. While the charm of physical events, with face-to-face interactions and the beauty of touch & feel of various products remains, a greater use of digital solutions will ensure that travel or other restrictions do not become hindrances in hosting exhibitions or participating in them. The digital solutions will also help in providing a much better experience to clients and guests, whether it is through event-based apps providing all the information starting from pre-registration requirements to entry and exit barcodes to reference material to information on hotels, airlines and car rentals to details about safety and sanitization protocols. The prospects and experiential elements are endless. There is also a tremendous opportunity offered by new-age digital tools in planning and organizing events, including for visualization and tracking of resources. The pandemic also taught us to address every situation with a greater deal of solidarity, resilience, efficiency and compassion and work for the good of the community.