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Thursday, 25 January, 2018, 15 : 50 PM [IST]

GPS Nagpur, going from strength to strength

Disha Shah Ghosh

For a marketplace which has completed 6 years in its home base of Nagpur, the number of repeat buyers as well as a host of new participants at the 2018 edition to gain product knowledge is a demonstration of its popularity among the agent community. The mood was evident among the exhibitors and buyers that GPS (Global Panorama Showcase) Nagpur continues to remain a premier annual feature for agents from Central India, since the concept is a first for the industry. However, completely aware of the changing ways of the industry, organisers of GPS, will be expanding its reach to the 2 new cities of Hyderabad and Lucknow in its calendar later this year.

According to Harmandeep Singh Anand, Managing Director, GPS, “For the sixth edition of GPS Nagpur, we received pre-registrations for over 900 visitors. On the first day of presentations, we educated the agents about GST (Goods and Services Tax), and new issues like crypto currency Bitcoin, selling coach tours in Europe, Rainbow CTM, etc. At each of the session we had an average attendance of 270 visitors, while the overall attendance was of 500 participants. The sessions continued till 8 pm, 2 hours past the scheduled time, clearly showing the interest among the visitors in gaining first-hand knowledge.” Anand believes that with the addition of Hyderabad and Lucknow editions, they should be able to reach out to the agent community across the country. “GPS is followed by 20,000 people thanks to the mobile application launched last year, which has been slowly and gradually accepted by the trade fraternity. The popularity of the show will only continue to surge.”

No initiative is immune to challenges and GPS is no different. Raju Akolkar, CEO, GPS, says, “The biggest challenge for us is to convince tourism boards, domestic as well as overseas to participate. Since GPS is focused on the Tier-II and III markets across India, it is a perfect opportunity for the tourism boards to participate and showcase their offerings to a large spectrum of the travel trade. It is opportune for them to popularise their products in regions that they don’t belong to.” As far as expanding the footprint is concerned, he says that they conducted a small survey among their exhibitors and buyers to finalise on the new cities.

For sustaining the show in the market, Akolkar believes that the concept is the king, “since GPS is solely focused on catering to the agents in Tier-II and III markets.”

Echoing similar sentiments, Ankush Nijhawan, Executive Director, GPS, says that it is the Tier-II and III cities that are driving the growth of the travel & tourism industry, where product knowledge and access to quality suppliers is still not at par with the main metros. Therefore, with a trade show like GPS the idea is to create an effective business and networking platform for buyers as well as suppliers. “The format works well since the agents get first-hand knowledge about the products and destinations as well as are enlightened about various subjects and services through Knowledge Sessions on day 1. Going forward the expansion to the 2 new cities of Lucknow and Hyderabad will only benefit the agents across geographies. The effort would be to innovate and provide quality exhibitors of varied profiles,” Nijhawan adds.

GPS Nagpur for the first time since its inception changed its schedule from a late week show to a Monday to Wednesday programme. “It was a calculated move, and it is a learning that a trade show early in the week also works for the trade community,” says Madhu Saliankar, Executive Director, GPS.

Going ahead, Saliankar says the strategy would be to filter the participating exhibitors. “We are confined to a conference hall. Therefore, we will grow in terms of quality of exhibitors. New exhibitors and products and destinations have come in at this edition. We have also seen a lot of domestic players looking for exclusivity. We have to now think if we can have one destination per city as a partner. However, the partner that we chose to work with should be of a premium value, and the service has to be exemplary. Slowly and gradually, we are getting selective about the quality of exhibitors.”

The travel & tourism industry in India has seen an influx of a number of trade shows in the past few years, therefore for the organisers of GPS it is imperative to maintain the momentum and continue to improve on their product. The expansion to the two new cities has already generated interest among the trade, and it’s to deliver on this.
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