5th Kerala Travel Mart. in Kochi from Sep. 20-23

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Kochi, Sep 18 (UNI) The 5th Kerala Travel Mart (KTM), billed as the largest tourism B2B meet in the country, will be inaugurated by state Chief Minister V S Achutanandan here on September 20 in the presence of union Tourism and Culture Minister Ambika Soni.

More than 1,500 delegates, including 570 international buyers, have registered for the four-day meet, which has over the years emerged as a key networking event for the tourism industry in India, KTM Society President E M Najeeb said at a press conference here.

Among others present for the inauguration will be Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy, Kerala Tourism and Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, Kochi Mayor Mercy Williams, Kerala Tourism Secretary V Venu and Kerala Tourism Development Corporation Chairman Cherian Philip.

A total of 312 stalls will showcase unique tourism products from Kerala including Ayurveda, medical tourism, home stays, houseboats and beach and mountain resorts. Kerala Tourism and Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan will inaugurate the stalls on September 21.

Among the special events during the KTM would be a seminar organised by the external affairs ministry on September 21, focusing on tourism promotion efforts among the IBSA (India, Brazil and South Africa) countries.

Two other seminars would be held on September 21 and 23 on 'Responsible Tourism Initiative' and 'Rural Tourism'.

'Looking Beyond', a book authored by renowned travel writers Hugh and Colleen Gantzer, would be released on September 22 by Mr Amitabh Kant, Principal Secretary, Industries and Special Commissioner (Labour), Kerala Government.

Describing the event as an industry-led one, Mr Najeeb said the KTM Society would be spending about Rs 7.5 crore on the event. The Kerala Government had contributed Rs 50 lakh for it.

The members of the KTM Society include airlines, event managers, tour operators, hotels, houseboat and homestay owners and speciality hospitals and ayurveda centres.

The valedictory function on September 23 would be presided over by Kerala Education and Culture Minister M A Baby.

UNI ARC DK1515

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