The seventh edition of the Kerala Travel Mart (KTM) to be held here next month has received a huge response, a KTM official said Wednesday.
The KTM is held every other year and this year's edition will be held Sep 27-30.
Riaz Ahmed, KTM president told IANS that till date 460 international buyers and 1,245 domestic buyers have registered, which is double the response recorded at the last KTM.
"No doubt the event is becoming bigger and bigger and that's evident from the response we have had this time. It has become the biggest tourism event, that keeps the Kerala tourism flag flying high," said Ahmed.
The KTM Society has 599 members in the state with profiles that include airlines, ayurveda centres, farm-stay, home-stay, hotels, speciality hospital, resorts, travel agents, adventure tour operators and other specialized travel packages.
"This is basically a buyer-seller meeting being organised under the banner of private-public-partnership. This year too we have a rough budget of more than Rs.15 crore for conducting the event. Last year, the state government gave us Rs.1 crore," added Ahmed.
With the economies in certain South American and East European countries not doing well, the KTM is planning to help buyers from there with some financial assistance in terms of travel.
"Hotels in and around Kochi have set aside 800 rooms, free of cost, to accommodate the guests. We are also having a post-mart tour for all interested buyers to the properties they wish to see. We will provide the transport and the respective hotels will take care of them," added Ahmed.
At KTM 2012, there will be 108 tables, 296 modules and 12 houseboat parking bays.
"For the first time, we have decided to give bar-coded identity cards to all the invitees, and this will enable us to find out how much time each buyer spends with the sellers. Besides, before the mart starts each buyer and seller will know how many appointments they have because we will have an online appointment facility," added Ahmed.