Luxury quotient on an ‘UP’ward swing
At the recent Travel Trade Mart (TTM 2017) organised by Travel Trade Association of Uttar Pradesh in Lucknow, the local travel agents identify that the market has a huge potential for high-end luxury travel and gradually newer destinations like Vietnam, K
This is the first time that Travel Trade Mart (TTM 2017) was organised in UP and I must say the organisers did a great job. The buyers and sellers were asked to register themselves online in order to have a smooth event. I met many potential buyers from the region and found that there are a lot of high-end clients that we can cater to for Singapore and the Far East. Earlier, tourism boards targeted metros like Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai but now, have gradually started moving to Tier-II and Tier-III cities. Lucknow has become a central point for UP.
TTM was a fantastic initiative to bring together various stakeholders of the tourism and hospitality industry under one roof to allow them to showcase their products to the tour operators of Uttar Pradesh. This is a growing market and has very high potential. We showcased 18 destinations under our portfolio where we have our own offices. We met with agents from Lucknow, Kanpur, Varanasi and other nearby cities. Earlier this market was constrained to the Far East but gradually has started moving to destinations like South Africa, Europe and the US.
We received many queries from a variety of travel agents and tour operators for the portfolio we represented at the show. I found a lot of queries for Vietnam which is an upcoming destination; a fair interest for Europe while Dubai remained the most popular. Sri Lanka however, did not attract too much interest. We found a huge potential of high-end clients from the UP market. This exhibition brought us in direct contact with the agents who require our services. I feel the market in Tier-I cities is mostly handled by big players of the industry. The Tier-II market is developing and gaining confidence which allows companies like ours to bridge the gap in the market.
We received excellent response from the buyers towards the product portfolio we offered and moving forward, I am sure we will drive good business out of the meetings we conducted during the show. We saw a lot of queries for Australia and increased interest among agents for island destinations. The buyers we met from Lucknow, Azamgarh, Kanpur, Amethi etc. mostly catered to the cruising aspirations of their clients and the honeymoon segment. The show proved to be a very good platform to highlight the tremendous potential of Tier-II and Tier-III cities.
This exhibition was well-organised and gave me a platform to meet all leading agents from Lucknow and Kanpur and allowed to connect with agents from nearby cities like Allahabad, Gorakhpur and Varanasi whom I may not have met otherwise. We found that the aspiration to take a cruise holiday is high in UP. The only deterrent in growth of cruising from UP was lack of information. However, gradually we observed that travel agents have become more confident and are aware of our products. They are able to advise their clients on right destinations and itineraries instead of routing their business through bigger cities.
This show proved to be very fruitful for me as I found the right partners. I met buyers from Lucknow, Allahabad, Kanpur, Varanasi and also closed business from a few groups for Singapore. So, I have been satisfied with the return on investment for this show. Apart from budget travellers, UP also has a huge high-end luxury clientele which seeks high standards of service. People in UP have money to spend but are not so aware about the destinations and thus, education of travel agents is most crucial in the state.
Since this was the first outbound tourism show to be hosted in Lucknow, we decided to venture into the UP market as this is a growing and developing market with a lot of scope. The travel agents we received were from Lucknow, Kanpur and other nearby areas and it was very helpful to be connected with these agents directly rather than have their business routed through other agents in Delhi and Mumbai. We showcased St. Petersburg and other parts of Russia and received a warm response. This was a very well-organised show and it is commendable that the organisation was able to put up such a good quality show in a short span of time.
The first Travel trade mart in Uttar Pradesh offered a wide variety of exhibitors showcasing their products to the travel agents and local tour operators of Uttar Pradesh. I saw few DMCs which came to the Uttar Pradesh market for the first time and this was a very positive sign for the tourism industry in the state. In terms of inbound, Uttar Pradesh has various destinations on offer to the foreign tourists like Lucknow, Varanasi, Sarnath, etc. along with a wide variety of tourism products. In terms of outbound, Southeast Asia remains popular with destinations like Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia; Dubai is a major attraction from the UP market while other destinations like Korea, Australia, New Zealand and all major European countries are also catching up fast.
TTAUP is a fairly new organisation and the team did a wonderful job. This was a first-of-its-kind UP based event for the travel agents of the state and it proved to be a positive step as many times it is not feasible for the local agents to attend shows in Delhi, Mumbai and other metros. I saw that 80 per cent of the products showcased at the show are new to the UP market like St. Petersburg, Korea and Vietnam. Till now the UP travel agents were confined to destinations like Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau and Dubai but with newer destinations coming in, I am sure the trend will change. The spending capacity is very high amongst travellers from the state but the lack of information and knowledge among the agents act as a deterrent for the industry.
This show was very informative for me as till now i was working with only a few suppliers but after attending TTM 2017, I was able to meet many new ones who are capable of offering better rates and will be beneficial for my overall business. For example, one exhibitor offers an online portal to check the availability of packages for Mauritius, for which we were dependent on our suppliers; earlier I knew only one supplier for packages to Russia but now I have met three different companies for CIS countries and Russia. Agra in particular has good high-end traffic for Europe where people have the spending capacity as high as Rs 50,000 per night in a branded property.
I congratulate the team for organising such a wonderful show. TTM has been very successful in providing exposure to the small time agents of the region and being a local show, it also brought many industry professionals together under one roof. I was able to meet vendors here which I was unable to meet at larger trade shows, The quality of exhibitors was on a par with the bigger shows organised in the metros and that is commendable.
UP is a much diversified market and it is very important to look at this market carefully. Most of the travel shows take place in metros like Delhi, Mumbai and this is for the first time that Lucknow has been brought to the fore. In travel business, trust is the foremost priority and the exhibitors at the show have been able to convince us of the quality of the products they have to offer. Pricing of the products is also very crucial and we hope that now after we are directly connected to the variety of suppliers, we will find better prices for our clients and grow business.
Gaurav Sharma Regional ManagerBusiness Development, Cruise Professionals, India Travel Award winner
Amit Gupta Manager-Sales & Contracting, Holidays by Sahibji, India Travel Award winner
Shahnawaz Zafar Country Manager-Sales (India), United Travels and Tours
Gagan Kumar Director, STHI Group, India Travel Award winner
Akanksha Chaudhary Senior Manager Salvia Travels
Sujit Nair Founder and Group MD, Akquasun
Shailesh Agarwal Sales Manager Get My Trip
Hina Zaidi Director-Sales Sheeraz Tours
Preeti Duggal Director YS Hospitality
Manoj Rawat Director, Express Worldwide Holidays India
Prateek Jain Proprietor A. S. Tours and Travels
Abdul Jabbar Khan Director, Jet View Travels