Booth space at the PATA Travel Mart (PTM) 2008, to be held at the Hyderabad International Convention Centre in India from September 16 to 19, is completely sold out, while the number of registered qualified buyers has soared past the targeted 350 to 374. The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) recently selected the final two sellers, the Sri Lanka Convention Bureau and Tourism New South Wales from the waiting list to fill the last available booths. They join more than 300 other sellers for scheduled business meetings. The qualified buyers hail from 57 countries.
According to PATA events director Sheila Leong, as many as 171 qualified buyers - or 46 per cent of the total - are first timers to the show, as a result of active nominations initiated by the PTM 2008 Indian hosts and the PATA India Chapter.
India will provide the largest buyer contingent, with strong growth from Chinese (PRC) buyers, ahead of next year's PTM in Hangzhou. Europeans continue to dominate the mart's broad geographic buyer mix, accounting for 38 per cent of registrations. Asian, Gulf and North American buyers follow, with Pacific and African buyers combining for 10 per cent of the total.
The buyers, vetted by PATA, include 12 new and expanding markets - six Gulf markets, Romania, Slovenia, Brazil, Peru, Cambodia and the Maldives.
PATA selected India for the travel mart as it believes the country's tourism industry is among the strongest, most dynamic in the world and still shows plenty of room for growth.
Between 1996 and 2006, the Indian outbound market expanded nearly 10 per cent per year. In 1996, Indians made nearly 3.5 million trips. By 2006, the number of outbound trips topped 8.3 million, according to PATA’s Strategic Intelligence Centre (SIC).
PATA president and CEO, Peter de Jong said these outbound numbers combined with a double-digit growth rate in inbound last year to around 5 million make India “one of the shining stars” in Asia Pacific travel and tourism.
To zero in on quality buyers, PATA regional directors in China, Europe, the Gulf region, North America and the Pacific have been working closely with India's Ministry of Tourism, Air India, Jet Airways and travel trade associations on an aggressive worldwide recruitment campaign.
PTM 2008 provides delegates with 40 one-on-one appointments over six business sessions in three days. During the event, the Macau Government Tourist Office will once again host the 2008 PATA Gold Awards Lunch and Award Presentation on Friday, September 19.