Kochi, Sep 29 (PTI): The ongoing 10th edition of the Kerala Travel Mart (KTM) here has the highest number of foreign buyers from the US and the UK, signalling the growing interest of visitors from these countries in the state. Also Read - Kerala Reports First Coronavirus Death. A Reason to Worry? | 5 Points

As many as 42 buyers have arrived from the US while around 40 buyers have turned up from the UK for business interactions with sellers, at the event being held at Willingdon Island here, a release said Saturday. Also Read - Coronavirus: 919 Deaths in Italy on Friday, Worst Single-Day Death Toll in The World

Incidentally, this edition of the KTM has the highest number of foreign buyers, which stands at 545, and they have come from 66 countries. Also Read - Silver Lining in The Time of Coronavirus: 101-year-old Man Recovers From COVID-19 in Italy

There are 37 buyers representing the UAE and 36 buyers have come from Germany, it said.

Buyers from other countries include Australia (32), Russia (31), Malaysia (26), Poland (24), South Africa (17), the Philippines (14), Italy (13), China (12) and Sweden (10), who are active in reaching business-to-business deals.

“I am first time here. I’m looking for new partners and information in tourism sector in the state,” said Elena Protopopova from Russia.

She is also impressed with the meticulous organisation of the KTM.

Marion Liebhard, a marketing professional from the US, said “Its a really interesting event as I could find a unique array of exhibitors and segments in the KTM. There is a good presentation of the touristic market.”

Liebhard said she was looking for new partners and tour operators adding the variety available in terms of tourism impressed her.

“I am impressed with the huge variety here in terms of tourism. What attracts me to Kerala is its tradition and fantastic nature,” she added.

The four-day KTM, which was inaugurated by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on September 27, has focus on the Malabar as a core theme.

Public-private participation is a key feature of the conclave which has drawn delegates from the fields of travel and tour, hotels and resorts, home-stay, houseboat, Ayurveda centres and cultural organisations.

KTM provides a platform to buyers and sellers to interact and promote businesses, giving a fresh impetus to Kerala’s tourism industry that generates an annual turnover of Rs 34,000 crore and provides employment to 25 lakh people.

The mart, with 325 sellers in 400 stalls, has 1,635 buyers, who are top executives of firms in tourism industry within the country and outside, attending it.

As for the domestic buyers, their number stands at 1,090, the release added.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.