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Here’s what’s in store at WTM & ITIC, London this year

NOVEMBER: WTM London, Spl issue

By Anandi

November brings in global eventful season in London. It’s the time for World Travel Market (WTM) and the International Tourism and Investment Conference (ITIC) in the capital city of England. Carefully curated, ITIC is held on Nov 1 – 2 at Inter Continental Park Lane and WTM takes place at ExCeL London from Nov 4 to 6.

Both of these travel events create business opportunities, forge relationships, establish communities, generate ideas and result in innovations.

Since, last few years, Africa has emerged as one of the popular destinations. At ITIC 2019, World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) will elaborate on how Africa and Island Nations are impacting the tourism world.

‘Africa is the ultimate destination for wildlife. Indian travellers have also realized that domestic tourism has also become expensive. If one can shell out around Rs 1- 1.5 lakh, they can afford a Kenyan wildlife safari,’ informed Chandramouli Thakur, Business Head, Miles Tourism, a travel agency in Kolkata, who conducts wildlife tourism. ‘These B2B events like WTM and ITIC should also happen in India, help building connections and explore business opportunities,’ added he.

Amit Jain, founder, Rising Star Tours and Travels, Delhi, expressed, ‘Adventure tourism is a hit among millennials Indian gallivanters due to its raw beauty. The continent is full of life and epical beauty, hence tourists from worldwide have special inclination towards Africa.’

‘WTM and ITIC are the gateways to new markets, customers and various collaboration opportunities. When business leaders of different countries get the opportunity to interact with the international fraternity, they explore new ideas and contrive plans which mutually benefit the businesses and industry on the whole,’ he further said.

ITIC will focus discussions on women empowerment issues. To this Jain added, ‘The trend of solo woman travelers is picking up a great pace too. Many travel companies are coming out with travel plans for the elderly and those with disabilities. Besides, unprecedented growth in the MICE and medical tourism, India’s travel sector has a great future ahead.’

Now, the declines of corporate giants like Thomas Cook and Cox & Kings have thrown a challenge to the global tourism sector. Undoubtedly, tourism has multiplying effects on the country’s economy. ITIC this year has devoted a lot of time to discuss investors’ expectations, economy and travel development projects. Isn’t that a silver lining in the dark clouds of crisis created by the corporate giants?

Anil Punjabi, Chairman, East, Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI), owns AR-ES Travels in Kolkata, said, ‘The collapse of the top players has raised the question on the credibility of the travel agencies. Earlier, block bookings for destination weddings were done months in advance even if the charges were high. Today, passengers have developed trust issues, but we cannot blame them. They check if the travel agencies are officially recognized by International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Travel Agent Federation of India (TAFI) or not.’

‘In 2018, there has been an increase of 8 -10 per cent of women workforce in the travel industry, an encouraging figure undoubtedly,’ added he.

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