Indians are travelling as never before – and all indices seem to suggest that the travel bug has caught on with the upwardly mobile emerging middle class with an unprecedented disposable income. The sector’s upward trajectory is well reflected in trade fairs for the sector, where the industry gathers to celebrate and plot future growth. Nowhere is the gathering larger than at SATTE, which is celebrating its 25th edition as India’s leading travel show. As Yogesh Mudras, Managing Director, UBM India, which owns SATTE, tells Suman Tarafdar, this its largest and most ambitious edition ever, reflecting the growing profile of the sector. Excerpts
Congratulations on the 25th anniversary of SATTE. What special things are planned for this edition?
Thank you. SATTE has now become an institution and in these 25 years, evolved as a truly global exhibition in this part of the world. In 2018, it stands taller, more charismatic and relevant than ever before. A Silver Anniversary is always special and we have already started counting down to the milestone from several months.
To celebrate the 25 years, we launched the ‘I am 25’ campaign where we lined up a number of events on the 25 th of every month leading up to the expo, to create more opportunities for the travel trade. These included a thought leadership conference, a Single Malt Journey, conferences on Travel Technology, a special Women in Travel event and CSR activities. SATTE is also happy to engage its exhibitors and visitors to pledge for sustainable tourism under the unique I-Pledge platform where they get to pledge to conserve natural reserve; respect and save wildlife; say ‘no’ to plastic; dispose waste smartly and travel responsibly. We have
already got over 25,000 pledges at last count. We actively promote key governmental initiatives like ‘Start Up India’, and ‘Skill India’ through our exhibitions and SATTE is no different. For the 25th edition, we have a special pavilion for start-ups that are disrupting the space as well as venture capital firms to provide seed investments for captivating ideas.
Apart from the thriving business, a significant highlight will be the cultural performances by different participants to focus on the uniqueness of each destination. The After Hours are going to be very busy too at SATTE with awards, networking evenings and more. The newly introduced Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in Delhi will be the host venue for one of these engagements.
Number of participants: 1,000
Number of countries: 50
Number of states, UTs: 28
Event location: Pragati Maidan, Delhi
Event dates: January 31-February 2
How many participants have registered to participate this year? How many new and returning participants?
This year we have 1000 participants with over 50 countries and 28 Indian states participating. Exhibitors such as China, Nepal, Peru, Czech Republic, Visit Russia, Gujarat Tourism, Rajasthan Tourism, Red Apple, Treebo Hotels, Europcar, Nafex, Guiddoo, Globe 360 DMC amongst others have increased their participation and stall size significantly. Moreover, Philippines and Bangladesh are coming back to SATTE 2018. Notably, Azerbaijan is the new entrant at
SATTE’s 25th edition.
SATTE 2018 is also witnessing an increase in participation from hospitality players. Groups such as Sterling Resorts, Minor Hotels, Melia Hotels International, Shangri -La Hotels and Resorts, Venetian Cotai and many more are participating at SATTE 2018.
Given that tourism is growing at a healthy rate, how is that manifesting itself at fairs such as SATTE? Are participants looking to expand stall area or are they cutting back? How much growth in participant and visitor numbers is expected this year?
A diverse country like India has a huge tourism potential. The industry is growing at an unprecedented pace with the urban middle class taking to every kind of travel and low-cost airlines and higher disposable incomes have ensured that Indians are travelling more than ever before. In fact, the Indian tourism industry is the fastest growing among the G20 countries. Ease of access through online portals, hassle-free bookings and accessible pricing will play a pivotal role in ensuring that India’s travel sector grows to a $48 billion market opportunity by
Brand SATTE is in a leadership position in the domain, and is extremely well-connected, including at the highest level with governmental and international associations. The support from the Ministry of Tourism, for instance, has been immense as they have proactively been nominating buyers, for our Buyer Programme. Apart from registering extremely high growth numbers last year, this year too we have exceeded expectations, adding 4 more halls to last year’s tally of seven to accommodate all the exhibitors, including special pavilion for start-ups and venture capital firms to provide seed investments for captivating ideas.
While the number of exhibitors have increased by around 30 percent, we are getting an extremely enthusiastic response from the travel and tourism professionals expected to visit the expo.
Is the starting of new tourism and travel fairs a challenge for SATTE? How is it innovating to stay ahead?
SATTE is an institution in itself, having been witness to a corresponding growth in the travel an tourism industry beginning 1994, during the Liberalisation of the economy. The y-o-y increase has been immense since 2011 and the key really has been innovation.
Its marketing campaigns and knowledge seminars seek to find out-of- the-box answers to trending topics such how we can attain sustainability development goals, how visa reforms influence touristic outcomes, how travel players can harness the potential of local experiences, and ways in which start-ups can be encouraged. SATTE 2018 will witness several exciting partnerships and announcements that promise to augur new trends in the industry. As mentioned earlier, we have a special pavilion for start-ups that are disrupting the space as
well as venture capital firms to provide seed investments for innovative ideas.
With each year, SATTE brings in a plethora of innovations for the travel professional. Besides, we further encourage it through our awards, which is an endeavour to recognize and celebrate the excellence, achievements and innovations of key stakeholders in the Travel and Tourism industry.
Ultimately, it is the confidence reposed on us by the industry that challenges us each year to come out with innovations that can make a mark in the travel trade domain.
What are the dominant trends at SATTE this year? What is the theme for this year?
With SATTE achieving its Silver Jubilee milestone this year, the theme naturally is about celebrating the expo by encapsulating 25 year’s success in the domain. One of the key features of SATTE 2018 will be the conference programme from January 31 st to February 2 nd that promises industry discussions and sharing of new insights pertaining to the key trends of the T&T arena. SATTE will host six panel discussions that will bring together stakeholders of the industry on a single platform, allowing exchange of ideas that will add value to Indian tourism at large.
|Some of the dominant trends observed in the industry are:
Millennial driven choices: The millennial’ decision will mostly be based on the perception of value which includes a new experience, little known history about the destination, and its food and culture. It won’t be limited to the popular choices but also will include the lesser explored places including smaller cities and towns that are connected by flights.
Smaller cities to shine: Cities like Shillong, Pondicherry, Neyveli which are being connected through airports due to Civil aviation ministry’s Udaan scheme will also see an increasing traction amongst travellers.
Growing options for weekend trips: The time-strapped professional still likes to have his little breaks and looks at spending the weekend away. The number of options for weekend trips have increased, along with the number of resorts at each destination. Weekend stays at villas have gained tremendous traction.
Greater autonomy with self-help travel tools: The growing consumer income, and the desire to own their holidays has led to a behavioural shift among consumers. Online self-help travel tools offered by start-ups and SMEs, along with bigger players, are adding to the autonomy, ease and convenience of the traveller.
Are the awards back this year? What was the reception to the awards in its initial year?
Yes, we are all set to host the second SATTE Awards, and have already received an overwhelming response for it. The inaugural edition of the awards included 19 award categories, covered various segments of the travel and tourism industry including airlines, cruise, tour operators, hotels, destinations, online travel portals, to name just a few. In the launch edition itself, the SATTE Awards was well-attended by over 600 national and international guests from the T&T industry along with the ministry of tourism heads and VVIP’s from the government and industry sector. It won industry admiration for flawless execution, dynamic stage design, quality technical setup and the energy it exuded.
How is the exhibition space developing in India? How fast is it growing?
Today exhibitions, are known to be important drivers of the national economic prosperity, generating 10x impact on the business of the companies, besides of course contributing to trade and investment outcomes, innovation, jobs creation and domestic and international visitations. According to UFI Global Association of Exhibition Industry, the Indian exhibition industry will grow at the rate of 12% per annum at Rs 65,000 crore with over 700 major trade shows organized every year. The B2B information market is significantly different today. 15 years ago, people were questioning whether the end of face-to- face contact was near. However, the demand for the value of face-to- exhibitions today has risen sharply, generating
outstanding results for businesses and helping grow business in multiple geographies. The recent implementation of GST by the government for introducing unified tax, will further enhance growth as it will save the industry from multiple taxation, and result in seamless and efficient supply chain, especially in the emerging infrastructure of Tier II and III cities.