India’s SATTE 2021 draws 10,000 visitors with message of 'revival and reconnect'

Informa Markets in India drew over 10,000 visitors to its three-day travel and tourism exchange SATTE’s 28th edition at the India Expo Center, Greater Noida, 24-26 March.

Inaugurated by Arvind Singh, secretary - tourism, government of India, the physical show brought together a cross-section of the region’s travel, tourism and hospitality industries. Key dignitaries in attendance included the minister of tourism of the Maldives and the former secretary – tourism, in the government of India and secretary-general, Hotel Association of India.

Arvind Singh reminded the audience on the inaugural day that the travel and tourism industry contributed 6.8% of India’s total economy and generated 8.0% of employment. “India is emerging as a nation to look up to for several countries in terms of health infrastructure, we have already vaccinated 32 million people,” the minister said. He also mentioned initiatives such as updates to the website of ‘Incredible India’ in multiple languages, including Chinese and Arabic and the launch of the SATHI (System of Awareness Training for Hospitality Industry), SWADESH support scheme and the Incredible India Tourist Facilitator (IITF) Certification Programme. “We are positioning India as a centre of Ayurveda, Yoga, Sidha, Naturopathy,” the minister added, noting that schemes have also been extended to wellness tourism service providers.

Dr Abdulla Mausoom, minister of tourism, Maldives, said that by the end of this year, more than 300,000 Indian tourists are expected to visit the Maldives. He said soon Maldives would become the first country to initiate Vaccine Tourism under a 3V programme: ‘Visit, Vaccinate and Vacation’. Tavellers, he said, would be offered the option to get vaccinated against Covid-19 in the Maldives as it promoted itself as a safe destination.

Maneck E. Davar, chairman of India’s Services Exports Promotion Council (SEPC), said the show had brought back some confidence in the travel and tourism industry. “No country can ever grow unless it has a vibrant and strong hospitality industry and today we have the finest hospitality industry in the world…We know the pain this industry has gone through in the last year and the pain that this industry will continue to go through, but in spite of that it will continue to be buoyant and optimistic as is evident in this exhibition.”

Dr Dhananjay Regmi, CEO of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) described SATTE as t”he biggest show in South Asia. "In our efforts to revive tourism in Nepal under the new normal, we are looking at opportunities where we can go and promote Nepal," he said. "SATTE has happened at the right time and has given us the opportunity to inform the trade that Nepal is open to tourism, especially for the Indians, and is also easily accessible from several border points by road along the Indo-Nepal border.”

SATTE refocused its strategy this year primarily on the domestic market and a few exclusive international destinations that have opened their doors to tourists since the lockdown was lifted, or are looking at wooing Indian stakeholders once restrictions are eased. These included participants from Nepal, Maldives, Malaysia, Utah and Expo2020 Dubai.

Yogesh Mudras, managing director, Informa Markets in India, said after the show: “We acknowledge the support of our exhibitors, visitors and stakeholders for making a coveted industry show like SATTE possible this year. Our theme for this year, ‘Reconnect to Revive’ really resonated with the industry… Domestic tourism is already on the path of recovery though we expect periodic see- saws. Through SATTE, we also envisaged the ways to make international and domestic tourism ready and relevant when the time is right.”