The seventh edition of Kerala Travel Mart (KTM) came to a close on a high note Sunday on account of the sheer number of participants from abroad and within the country who took part.
"In spite of the recession, we could attract a sizable number of international buyers. The general mood has been one of optimism and fulfilment. The mart also gave the members of the industry an opportunity to interact and also ponder on the wider issues affecting our state including tackling the issue of waste," said Riaz Ahmed, president of the KTM.
The final arrival figures looked very encouraging with 1,486 buyers, of whom 398 were international and 1,088 were domestic buyers.
Kerala Travel Mart 2012 identified waste management as one of the core issues to be addressed for projecting Kerala as a clean destination.
"Kerala Tourism and the tourism industry have decided to join hands along with the local community to begin a campaign to keep the destinations in the state clean by forming task forces at every location," added Ahmed.
The highlight of the seventh edition was the showcasing of more than 50 new properties to the buyers. Besides, numerous new home stays also got a feel of how they could come closer to their prospective clients.
Hans Jorg Hussong, managing director, Comtour, and chairman, Discover India Society, said houseboats and operators should try to connect more with tourists.
"More investments should take place in creating environment friendly products like chemical toilets, good training should be imparted to the crew on the boats besides retaining the houseboat in its authentic state," said Hussong.
Sarvin Warden, of Designer Holidays, opined that Kerala should attract the big spenders by having more restaurants, spas, and develop the marinas.
"Kerala should look at what the market wants, not what we want. Tourists should be able to fly in directly on non-stop flights to Kerala," said Warden.