Berlin: ITB (Internationale Tourismus Borse), celebrating 50 years of excellence, was held in Berlin from March 8 to 13.
The Kerala Tourism delegation had 12 trade partners and Hall 5.2 featuring India had some Kerala players in the India Pavilion as well, putting up exclusive booths. While pre-scheduled meetings happened in full swing, the general feedback from participants was that overall footfalls were lower than previous years. Aggressive marketing by much smaller Indian Ocean and African destinations also made India look wanting.
The Kerala presence was led by D Balamurali IAS, Kerala Tourism’s Additional Director and Managing Director of Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC). The Kerala Pavilion, always a head-turner, was conceived by its branding agency Stark Communications, and decked up with three massive chundan valloms (traditional Kerala row boats) and a giant well-lit backdrop of the legendary boat races on Kerala backwaters.
Among hotels and resorts, the trade delegation had Abad Hotels & Resorts, Kumarakom Lake Resort, Nikki’s Nest, Poetree Sarovar Portico, Poovar Island Resort, The Travancore Heritage and Udaya Samudra Leisure Beach Hotel & Spa. Dravidian Trails Holidays was the sole tour operator at the Kerala Pavilion.
Four Ayurveda resorts also formed part of the trade delegation - Anandaniketan Ayur Resorts, Ayurveda Mana, Beach & Lake Ayurvedic Resort and Sitaram Ayurveda Beach Retreat.
While many tourism organisations from Kerala had set up individual booths, many had formed collaborative partnerships to present their offerings at ITB. Within Hall 5.2, the other major Kerala players who attended were The Nattika Beach Ayurveda Resort, CGH Earth Experience Hotels, Somatheeram Ayurvedic Health Resort Kovalam, Pioneer Personalised Holidays and Somatheeram Ayurveda Group.
Collaborative partnerships which showcased this time were Spiceland Holidays led by U C Riyaz (including Devonshire Greens, Holiday Vista, Lakes & Lagoons Backwater Experiences and Punarnava Ayurvedic Hospital); Tattva Tourism Solutions managed by Mili Sham Wittmann (including Rainbow Cruises, Carnoustie Ayurveda and Wellness Resort, Fragrant Nature and Neeleshwar Hermitage & The Lotus Houseboats); The Southern Collective (including Anantya Resorts); Kerala Travel Mart (KTM) Society president Abraham George’s Intersight Tours & Travels powered South Indian Trails (including Carmelia Haven Plantation Resort & Spa, Crowne Plaza, Chandy’s Hotels Resorts, Eastern Hotels & Resorts and Vythiri Village); Window to Luxury (including Isola Di Cocco Ayurvedic Beach Resort and Vythiri Resort); and Amritara Private Hideaways led by Manish Palicha (including Shalimar Spice Garden).
The India Pavilion was formally inaugurated by Suman Billa IAS, Joint Secretary, India Tourism and Gurjit Singh, Indian Ambassador to Germany. At the India Pavilion we had Kerala properties like Vasundhara Sarovar Premiere, The Zuri Kumarakom and Kadappuram Beach Resort.
Destination Kerala’s ITB 2017 special issue showcasing Wayanad was unveiled at the Kerala Pavilion by D Balamurali IAS, Abraham George and George Dominic (CGH Earth).
The new product launches from Kerala at ITB 2017
Owner: CGH Earth
Location: Lakkidi, Wayanad
Brief: 22 rooms set within 12.5 acres of tropical rain forest at an altitude of 2700 metres above sea level.
Grand Ayur Island
Owner: EVM Group
Location: 12 km from Vytilla, Kochi
Brief: Authentic Ayurveda Hospital with 12 rooms set on an island.
Owner: Aroma Group
Location: Kochi and Munnar
Brief: 5 star classified resort with 41 rooms at Fort Kochi; 5 star classified resort with 43 rooms at
Sukhayus - Healing Heritage of Ayurveda
Owner: Punarnava Ayurveda
Location: Fort Kochi
Brief: 32 rooms wellness resort offering authentic Ayurveda therapies (Green Leaf certified)
Upasana Ayurveda & Spa at Vasundhara Sarovar Premiere
Owner: Vasu Coco Resorts (Managed by Sarovar Hotels & Resorts)
Location: Vayalar, Cherthala, Alappuzha
Brief: 60 keys 5 star classified waterfront resort at Vayalar with superior rooms, suites, floating cottages and houseboats. What is new is Upasana, the Authentic Ayurveda Clinic managed by the renowned Arya Vaidya Pharmacy, Coimbatore