The first time I attended SATTE it was 2013! Gosh how time passes by! I attended it again in 2014 and 2016. In 2015 I was out of town. So what is SATTE? It is a leading trade event for tourism. In 2017 35 countries and 28 tourism boards participated in the event. The next logical question is if 2017 was a trade event, what is there in it for a travel blogger? SATTE 2017 New Delhi was held at Pragati Maidan (added after reading the comments from Joe and Jyotirmoy).
I too pondered along the same lines. In 2013 I was invited by Malaysia Tourism Board! After meeting them I had no clue what to do, I must have walked around and turned back! Even last year, I reconnected with the people I worked with in the past, might have made one or two new connections. If I said I was a travel blogger to new people many would give me a quizzical look and move on.
But this year things felt different! A lot more people showed interest when you told them you are a travel blogger! And of course, in the meanwhile I have worked with a few more tourism boards! So I had many people to meet at SATTE. I also felt more bloggers attended SATTE this year! The event is colorful too, with live dances and music thrown in!
On another note, the topic of making money via blogging comes up again and again. I surely make less money than my salary, but I have definitely traveled more than I did when I used to work full time. But then I was already blogging for 10 years before I quit my job. I was aware how much money was there in blogging. I think it is growing, but I did not quit my job thinking I will make tons of money after quitting my job. To anyone out there who wants to quit their jobs, give blogging a try part time first!
SATTE 2017 was extra special for me, because Israel Tourism Board used three of my pictures as posters in their booth! It was a first for me, it was a high! By now I feel at home at SATTE and I look forward to the next edition in 2018.
PS. I was invited by UBM, the organizers of SATTE to attend the event.
When I attended SATTE at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi I got a chance to interact with Dr. Lee Jae Sang the director of Korea Tourism Organization at India.
It was quite an experience to talk to him. He had been talking to a lot of news paper reporters and I wonder if he found chatting to a blogger a different experience? I mean I am much more talkative than a reporter, I interact in a conversation rather than follow the question answer mode.
Dr. Lee, Jae Sang Director India, Korea Tourism Organization
So my first question to him was that as Korea is a unique country and India is also an unique country will it be difficult for an Indian to visit Korea? He assured me that a lot of people in Seoul and Busan would speak English and a visitor would not have any problems. He also mentioned that in the year 2012 92000 Indians visited Korea and this year they are targeting 100000 Indian tourists.
I said at some point that I knew friends who went to Korea to do their post doctoral fellowships and then it was my turn to explain that by my day job I teach and otherwise I am independent travel blogger.
The booth had a lot of colorful posters and he mentioned that Korea is a land of festivals and the two in front of me were mud and tomato festivals. Both looked quite exciting! Then the talk moved on to the Korean F1 and I asked if the track was close to Seoul.
He replied that it was 400 km from Seoul but it would take anyone just 2 hours on bullet train! Now that feels like some experience, visit to a F1 track with the benefit of a bullet train ride!
Colors of Korea
Being an Indian and a vegetarian the talk then turned to food. I asked him if it would be difficult to find vegetarian food in Korea? He replied that Seoul and Busan would be no problem for Indian vegetarian food. Truth be told when I am abroad I do not crave for Indian food, I want to eat the cuisine of the land provided they can give me something vegetarian.
And then I asked him about the role of social media in promoting Korea. Dr. Lee said as Koreans are very high on internet use they do use a lot of social media in promoting Korea. He said if you really wanted to do Seoul it would probably take 2 weeks, that is how long many people stay.
Soon there were others waiting to talk to him and I took my leave. It was an excellent opportunity for me to get a glimpse into Korea from the top man in the country!
I have to admit I had not heard of SATTE before today. I was there on invitation of Malaysia Tourism. So initially I thought it was a Malaysia Tourism event. It was only after reaching Pragati Maidan I realized it was a big big exhibition!
Malaysia Tourism officials at SATTE, New Delhi
It was a privilege to hear to the director of International Marketing Division (South Asia/West Asia/Africa) Mr. Julkifly Md Said (in the center of the picture above). It was also fun to discover the opinions of Mr. Azahar Hamid (on the right in the picture above) Regional Senior Vice President (South Asia and Middle East) of Malaysia Airlines.
It is very encouraging to hear the officials say that India is an important market for them and they are very upbeat about it! They also feel that Malaysia has a lot to offer to the entire family be it shopping, theme parks, food, culture or nature.
But what I particularly liked was when Mr. Said looked at of two us and said Malaysia invites single women travelers! I really liked that.
I am quite impressed with the fact that Malaysia is #9 in international tourists arrival in the world and only two Asian countries feature in the top ten, China at 3 and Malaysia at 9. I have not been to China but I can clearly see why Malaysia is so popular. It has the infrastructure and it has lot to offer be it nature, culture, shopping, night life, F1 and much more.
It was also a lot of fun catching up with Rohaiza Harris whom I met at Malaysia Tourism Hunt 2012. He told me it was his first visit to India and I said it was a pity it was spent in hotels and convention halls! I hope he gets to see some of my country too.
But the best surprise was given to me by Mr. Shiva Segaram of Bukit Gambang Resort City. But that is the tale for a separate blog.
Malaysia Truly Asia
And before I sign off, a post about Malaysia cannot be complete without pictures of their colorful costumes. Or their hospitality.
Malaysia Tourism Stall at SATTE, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi
It was also great meeting Nithya Manoj of Malaysia Tourism for the first time and compare food notes with her along with Siva. Overall a day very well spent.