TravelBiz Monitor


Monday, 21 August, 2017, 11 : 38 AM [IST]
GPS writes yet another success story in Kolkata & Kochi

GPS is setting records in the Kolkata edition and the organisers feel that the city is no more a mere Tier-II market. Thanks to the robust connectivity to Kolkata and inturn trade visitors showing a double digit growth this year, the market has established itself as an important leg among the GPS editions. TravelBiz Monitor reports.

The Global Panorama Showcase (GPS) recently concluded its 2nd edition in Kolkata from July 27 to 29. The trade show witnessed presentations by suppliers and about two days of B2B meets. The show witnessed an overall turnout of approximate 900 delegates with 127 hosted buyers and 68 suppliers showcasing 150 travel products. GPS Kolkata witnessed local buyers coming down from Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Sambalpur, Guwahati, Ranchi, Shillong, Jamshedpur, Patna, Rourkela, Siliguri, Darjeeling, Agartala, etc., to The Lalit Great Eastern Kolkata serving as a great venue being located in the city centre, informed Madhu Saliankar, Executive Director, GPS while talking exclusively to TravelBiz Monitor.

“This is the second edition in the most prominent city of the East India i.e. Kolkata which is very well connected with other cities in the region. One has to understand that it is no more a Tier-II market and with the aggressive flight and rail connections, it is much easier to come down to the city to attend GPS. When it comes to the Eastern India, we can’t think of any other prominent market as Kolkata,” said Harmandeep Singh Anand, Founder, GPS.

Talking about their upcoming format, Anand revealed that GPS will be looking forward to cover 12 cities from next year. The three-day format is already existing in six cities i.e. Nagpur, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Kolkata, Kochi and Pune will remain the same. A crisp format of one and half days will be introduced in Bhubaneshwar, Guwahati, Lucknow, Jaipur, etc., with select supplier presentations and B2B meets. The new format is yet to take the final shape and the GPS organisers are open to partnering with DMCs in order to tap new cities.

L-R: Manoj Upadhyay, Business Development Manager-India, Club Med, Rajiv Duggal, CEO - Tourism, Essel Corporate Resources Pvt Ltd, Manoj SIngh, Country Head - India, NCLH, Sheldon Santwan, Editor & COO, TravelBiz Monitor, Naresh Rawal, VP - Sales, Star Cruises

Citing a comparison from last year, Anand highlighted that this year’s Kolkata edition was way better than the previous year’s. 50% of exhibitors were repeat and the total number of suppliers increased 50% as compared to the last year. Rishiraj Singh Anand, Co-Founder, GPS, added that the trade visitors witnessed a double digit growth. Also, the online registration process has given them a clear picture as to who attended GPS on which day and how much was the turnout on each day. For 2018, the GPS organisers have set a target of 85 exhibitors and 150 hosted buyers for Kolkata.

Raju Akolkar, CEO, GPS, emphasised how the Lead Capture feature given in the mobile app was applauded by the exhibitors. This particular function enables exhibitors to scan the bar code of the buyers they meet and their entire information comes to the supplier’s mobile app. It also facilitates suppliers to rate the buyers for their reference as well as it brings the quality of buyers in the notice of the GPS organisers. Suppliers can also take down notes on each buyer and by the day end all the data is made available in their hand. This can further be imported to an excel file and mailed thereafter.

Exhibitors-buyers meeting at GPS Kolkata

Revealing details about the EDWIN workshop Rishiraj explained that it will be that of a 6-7 night workshop including one-day of networking with local suppliers (about 35-50), two-nights (approx.) on cruise and three-nights (approx.) on land. Under the same, GPS has partnered with Star Cruises and Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Tourism and Indonesia Tourism so far and is also in talks with other NTOs.

The workshop will comprise flight, accommodation, meals, transport and sightseeing. It will be conducted on a highly subsidised rate and will serve as a good medium to explore the destination and the travel segment therein.

“The winner of Priceport (buyers taking selfie with suppliers) will be fully hosted for EDWIN. Also, to qualify for EDWIN, one needs to have attended atleast one edition of GPS in any of the cities as a Buyer. Only one person will be taken from each company. The workshop schedule will be fixed and the accommodation will be on twin-sharing basis. This programme has been solely designed for the buyers from the Tier-II and III markets,” stated Rishiraj.

The first workshop under EDWIN will be hosted at Leh-Ladakh in September (in association with Ravine Trek which is an adventure and leisure tour company) and to Malaysia in October this year.

After testing waters in the South with Coimbatore last year, Global Panorama Showcase (GPS) organisers were taking another chance with Kochi this year before making up their mind on the final destination. The gamble seems to have paid off as the very first edition of GPS held in Kochi between August 3 and 5 had more takers than expected, making them decide on Kochi not as a rotational but as a permanent destination for the annual travel show. P Krishna Kumar sums up the Kochi show.

More than the numbers, it is the quality and the seriousness of buyers and sellers that make the difference for any trade show. In that respect, the maiden GPS at Kochi gives a lot for the organisers to cheer about. That doesn’t mean the registered buyers were any less compared to more matured and established destinations of GPS. The number of registered buyers on the GPS app rose to 820 on the second day of the show. It is a different question whether all the registered buyers are turned up physically or not, but in a paperless show, where every detail of the delegate, his business is embedded in an app once he is registered, physical presence doesn’t matter much for a buyer or seller.

Harmandeep Singh Anand, Founder, GPS, said, “While we announced GPS in Kochi, we were not expecting more than 150 buyers for the maiden show. But the response was really encouraging as we had 820 registrations. Logistically, Kochi is more connected and accessible and we found it to be more apt location for our annual event. The idea behind GPS is to work as a conduit between travel suppliers and buyers in the Tier-II and III cities where suppliers really find it difficult to go and do events. We will continue to innovate and evolve and engage the industry in smaller cities and educate them about latest products and solutions.”

A paperless conference and exhibition in the Indian context is a huge task in itself, especially in smaller cities where technology is still on a catching up mode. Kochi, although is the fastest growing city in the country as per the latest ADB report, and is the hub of Indian tourism, the travel industry in the state is yet to harness technology supported tools and solutions.

Buyers’ Speak

Hashrin Baramy, CEO, Step Out Holidays
It was good. Last year, I attended the Coimbatore show. But this year looks better compared to last one in Coimbatore. I could find a lot of potential sellers here. Although it is not a big show, it turned out to be a productive one for me and my business.

VR Santosh, Director, Safina Holidays
The knowledge side of it was really good and I could gather a lot of information about new products and services. I could also meet a lot of new people at the show which would help in my future business. B2B side has to improve because buyers have to find value in coming here. Variety was lacking. Hopefully, they will look into it in the subsequent editions of the show.

The in-depth knowledge of the Founder of the GPS on subjects like Cyber Security, GST came handy as he raised questions on behalf of the industry audience to experts so that hidden facets of security, new tax regime, etc., are clear to them. Especially on the GST, he asked the agents fraternity to unbundle all the services so that the tax burden is lesser under the GST. He said that agents big or small, irrespective their turnover is less than INR 20 lakh, has to get registered under the GST, if they are doing business or providing service on behalf of airlines or bigger agents whose turnover is more than INR 20 lakh per annum. Asking to have clarity on many provisions of the GST, Anand said that it is important that agents raise invoices correctly and to the exact value of services they provide under the GST. “You have to be transparent in your dealings with corporate clients and other clients because everything is done online,” he said. It is also time agents “revisit the contracts with airlines” to get the rightful commissions, because they in turn avail the credits under the GST, he said.

The session on cyber security by Pervoyance, a cyber security auditing company, discussed on the need to secure softwares at a time when cyber crimes are increasing and hackers are quite active.

Suppliers’ Speak

Santhosh Kumar K, Head- Product Innovations, InterGlobe Technology Quotient
The show has come up really well and exceeded my expectations. The participation was really good considering it is the first time in Kochi. They got a good welcome here and it is a positive sign.

Karishma Kazi, Managing Partner, Explora
Kochi was a new market for us and the response has been good. We were able to meet a lot of potential, quality clients here. People know what they are talking, and quite inquisitive to know about the products and what we do. It was an engaging B2B show for us.

Somesh Bagdia of Futurica Technologies introduced a novel cloud CRM - Travo developed exclusively for the travel agencies to store, monitor and track enquiries and leads. “It’s a customised CRM for travel agencies. It’s a cost effective tool by which travel agents can track the leads and develop customised offers based on the queries,” Bagdia said. Amit Narula, Head- Business Development, FXKart, presented their unique online foreign exchange remittance platform, FlyRemit, through which travel agencies can transfer foreign exchange to their DMCs abroad, without losing lot of commissions.

Presentations at the trade show were also conducted by InterGlobe Technologies, Silk Air, TravelTag, Zanzibar Tourism, etc. The one-and-halfday B2B exhibition saw the participation of 68 exhibitors. At the end of the debut Kochi show, the buyers and sellers seemed satisfied with the response. Although the show was held in Kochi, there were good participation of buyers from Southern states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, etc.