by Pankaj Yadav
NEW DELHI, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- Around 1,000 participants from as many as 50 countries and regions as well as across India participated in the three-day expo "South Asia Travel and Tourism Exchange" (SATTE) held in Greater Noida, a city in northern state of Uttar Pradesh adjoining the Indian capital, that ended on Friday.
This was the 26th edition of the annual event and was said to be the biggest event of its kind in South Asia.
A number of Chinese firms from the travel and tourism sector also participated in the expo, such as "Go IndoChina Tours", "Hola China (Shanghai) International Travel Services Company Limited".
"SATTE 2019" enabled professionals from the industry to congregate and conduct business, to make solution-driven innovations to counteract economic uncertainties, and promote inbound, outbound and domestic tourism in India.
The chief organiser of the gala was "UBM India", a leading B2B events organiser. UBM India's Managing Director Yogesh Mudras said that the tourism industry was growing at an unprecedented pace with the travel sector expected to grow to a 56-billion-U.S. dollar market by 2020.
According to him, keeping in mind its tourism potential, India has been chosen by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNTWO) as the host country to celebrate the "World Tourism Day 2019" on the theme of "Tourism and Jobs: A better future for all".
India's Junior Minister of Culture and Tourism Mahesh Sharma said that the potential of tourism in India was high, though it accounted for only 6.8 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), yet it showed a growth of 9 to 13 percent in the number of tourists visiting India over the years.
Speaking to Xinhua, Shashank Pandey, the Managing Director of "Aspen Adventures Private Limited", which is an upcoming player in developing tourist destinations in India, said that over the years "SATTE" had emerged as a tremendous platform as far as the travel and tourism industry was concerned, by connecting Indian and international exhibitors and enabling them to start new partnerships.
The annual event had strengthened businesses by offering unique opportunities like newer, off-beat destinations and hotel properties, quality contacts from across the globe, profitable deals, value additions, new-age tourism, technology, knowledge sharing forums that discuss trends, challenges and solutions.
Pandey further said that his firm had developed some of the off-beat tourist destinations in India, like "Fort Oonchagaon" which is a heritage property dating back to the 18th century situated in western Uttar Pradesh.
"It gives the taste of how life was in India in the 18th century, the pre-Independence era i.e. prior to 1947," he said. "We have tried to offer it to tourists as an off-beat destination, and it has been an excellent experience so far," he added.