The 31st lAT0 Annual Convention was held from 20th to 23rd August 2015 at The Grand Bhagwati Palace Indore. The theme of the convention was “Tourism -we will change the Indian Economy”. Mr. Pronab Sarkar was the Chairman of the convention along with Mr. Ravi Gosain and Mr. Sanjeev Joshi as Co-Chairmen.
The Travel Industry’s largest fair, was successfully inaugurated on 20th August at The Grand Bhagwati Palace, Indore, Madhya Pradesh by Minister of state (IC) for Tourism and Culture and Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Govt. of India Dr. Mahesh Sharma and Chief Minister, Madhya Pradesh Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan in the Presence of Minister of State for Tourism and Culture, Govt. of Madhya Pradesh Shri. Surendra Patwa, Minister of Tourism & Culture, Govt. of Odisha Ashok Chandra Panda and host of senior officials from the central and state government Ministries. These included Secretary, Commissioner Tourism and Managing Directors of 14 states governments and invited guests, (over 1200 delegates), 30 speakers, Industry professionals, media members etc. The event proved to be commendable mix of government decision makers and professionals meet for the tourism industry.
The event started with lighting of the lamp by Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Mr. Shivraj Singh and host of VIP delegates and brief cultural programme showcasing the cultural heritage of, Madhya Pradesh.
In his welcome address, Mr. Pronab Sarkar, Convention Chairman updated on IATO’s achievements and a brief on lATO’s events in course of the Convention period. He mentioned that the Convention has a two focused approach: first focus on all possible and complexities that evolve the tourism industry and get inputs from the experts through the business sessions and secondly focus on how shall we as a team combat these complications with the help of concerned authorities in the government and Industry and look for solutions through new age technology specially. So full efforts have been made to see that business sessions create that impetus.
In his presidential address Subhash Goyal, President lATO talked about the new Initiatives of the Govt. and especially Prime Minister’s thrust to tourism for country’s growth which is reflected through the introduction of e-tourist visa for servicing e-tourist visa arrivals. This is a real, landmark decisions as visa had been a big bottleneck are« for sustainable growth of the Indian tourism. He also talked about the remarkable achievements of lAT0 on specifics areas where Ministry of Tourism, government of India assistance was immense especially for Road Shows, increased participation in global travel & Tourism exhibitions and Revised Marketing Development Assistance scheme giving substantial incentives to members. He also talked about New Tourism. Policy and how IATO could contribute valuable inputs. He also explained how Madhya Pradesh government extended full support and presence of the Chief Minister himself at the inaugural shows the importance of lAT0. We are grateful to all officials in Madhya Pradesh who worked behind the scene specially our dear colleague Mr. Ashwani Lohani, Commissioner & MD, Madhya Pradesh Tourism.
Chief Minister thanked lAT0 for choosing Madhya Pradesh for their prestigious Annual Convention and talked about various positive steps taken for states over all development. He emphasized on the development of tourism in Madhya Pradesh which will generate job opportunities in Madhya Pradesh.
Tourism Minister in his address profusely talked about the new initiatives of the Ministry of Tourism to diversify Indian Tourism products and new dimensions added in the Brand Incredible India Campaign. On this occasion, Minister of Tourism, Govt. of Madhya Pradesh & Odisha also addressed the delegates.
Mr. Lohani, in his address mentioned how the state had geared up for this mega event and how honoured they feel to welcome the industry professional and showcase the state’s tourism products. He also invited delegates to come for Kumbh Mela “SIMHANSTHA 2016.
This was followed by Hall of Fame Award which were given to Mr. R.H. Khwaja and Mr. Parvez Dewan, (Former Secretaries Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India) for their excellent service to India Tourism and service to the Industry. Vote of thanks was raised by Ravi Gosain Co-Chairman Convention. Coinciding with the Convention, inauguration of Travel Mart took place. All the Participating states showcased their products in a very professional manner and there were several parties offering tourism related services. The Cultural evening and the Gala Dinner was hosted by Madhya Pradesh Tourism.
Interesting business sessions were organized during the convention which were extended by the delegates in large numbers and the main topics were:-
• New Development in Taxation and Foreign Exchange Policy
• Importance of Infrastructure Development in Tourism
• The Indian Economy—where does tourism fit and what can we do to increase out value contribution
• The Indian Skies —Looking into the future
• The Industry and the Governance
• Tour Operators & Hoteliers -Who needs who
• Protecting our business and our intellectual property
• e-Tourist Visa- Challenges and Opportunities
• There is no reason to feel anything but enthusiastic
• The lATO Chill out Zone
Coinciding with the IATO Convention, IATO Run was organised on 21st August which was systematized by Mr. Amaresh Tiwari. ln a very pleasant weather' this was attended by Over 400 delegates.
Mr. Anthony J.C. Desa, Chief Secretary of Madhya Pradesh Government was the Chief Guest during the Valedictory Session Awards were given to the winners of IATO Run' Marketing lnnovation Competition and mementoes were presented to the State Governments, Airlines, hotels etc. Who supported IATO for making this convention a grand success.
Besides the host state Madhya Pradesh, the other States who participated and sponsored the convention were Andhra Pradesh, Andaman & Nicobar, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jammu& Kashmir, Jharkhand, Odisha, Rajasthan, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, Ministry of Tourism Govt. of lndia supported the convention, lndiGo, Jet Airways, Air India, Spicejet, Air China, Ethiopian Airlines, SriLanka Airlines were the airline sponsors. Sayaji Hotel hosted a dinner 21st August, 2015 for the delegates. We also got full support from the other hotels i.e. Effotel by Sayaii, Radisson Blu, Fortune Landmark, Lemon Tree, Country lnn & Suites, Sarovar Portico, Best Western and Hotel President who provided special rates for the delegates and looked after the delegate with good hospitality. We would also like to thank The Grand Bhagwati Palace, Indore for the excellent hospitality and hosting hi tea on 20th August 2015. Thanks to Alliance Hotels and Resorts, ABH Andaman, Sphere Media and Travel Scape for sponsoring the IATO Run.
After the convention, post-convention tours were organized by Madhya Pradesh Tourism on six different sectors which were attended by large number of our members and after the convention, they all were very happy with the hospitality extended by Madhya Pradesh Tourism.
We would like to thank to all the members in organizing committee. Thanks to Mr Raieev Kohli for the excellent business sessions and the contents, Mr. Rajiv Mehra, Mr.Ravi Gosain, Mr. Sanjeev Joshi for the extended support. Sincere thanks to Mr. Sunil Gupta, Mr. Gopal Rai, Mr. Pandian and Mr. Debjit Dutta for the excellent transport arrangements. Thanks to Mr. Subhash Goyal, Mr. SarabJit Singh, Mr. Amaresh Tiwari, Mr. Raj Bajaj, Mr. Rajnish Kaistha, Mr. Ramesh Wattal, Mr. Zia Siddiqui, Mr. N.S. Rathor and Mr. O.P. Mendiratta for their support. Thanks to all the Chapter Chairmen who supported for the convention and coordinated with the State Government for participation.
Thanks to all the entire staff at the IATO Secretariat for working hard and making this Convention a grand success. Thanks to all the media members for attending the convention and giving due coverage. Thanks to all our members for their participation in large numbers.