'KTM took major strides in overcoming Covid-induced economic crisis'

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Kochi, Mar 11 (PTI) The just-concluded Kerala Travel Meet (KTM) virtual summit facilitated more than 7,000 business meets, taking major strides in overcoming the Covid-induced economic crisis in the state and bringing back the vitality of tourism in a post-pandemic situation, organisers said here on Thursday.

The government and the KTM Society is considering holding a physical edition this year, according to Rani George, Principal Secretary, Department of Tourism, Government of Kerala.

'The virtual mart went off well and created another history for Kerala Tourism. Yet the importance of a physical mart cannot be ignored,' she said, while speaking at the closing ceremony of the event on March 5.

'The Department of Tourism and the KTM Society are working together to explore ways on holding a physical KTM this year,' the senior bureaucrat said.

'KTM is the ideal stage to showcase Keralas post- Covid resurgence,' she said.

Even as the online event emphasised on domestic tourism amid a new world order, the deliberations proved that Kerala's pre-eminence remains intact on the international travel map, KTM Society president Baby Mathew Somatheeram said.

Just as the five-day meet concluded on March 5, the organisers went on to provide a virtual visit of the KTM till March 10 so as to also communicate with the sellers.

This enabled people across the globe to gain wide access to the charms of Kerala's tourism, Somatheeram said.

The KTM edition, which featured 701 buyers (159 international and 542 domestic), saw participants from 38 countries.

As for the business meets, 2,660 were with foreign buyers and 4,175 with domestic.

Added to this were the meets through online chats, getting the total cross 50,000, organisers said.

The majority of the international buyers registered were from the US and the UK.

The others in the category included Brazil, Germany, Spain and Canada, besides Mexico, Oman, UAE and Australia and France, they said.

Most of the domestic buyers were from Maharashtra, a chunk of them based in Mumbai.

Delhi, Gujarat and Telangana were among the three other toppers on the list, they said.

The virtual edition got off to a start on February 28 evening, with state Governor Arif Mohammed Khan inaugurating the country's biggest tourism meet with a call to highlight domestic tourism for better collaboration among states and greater understanding between people.PTI TGB SS PTI PTI