02nd September 2017
Dear Members,
Subject: Programme - 33rd IATO Annual Convention 2017, Bhubaneswar
With just a few days left for this year’s annual IATO Convention, we are truly delighted with the response received from across the country. We are also very excited at the convention program, the latest version of which we are sharing here. It’s not too late to register if you haven’t as yet.
This year we have tweaked the format considerably. Rather than have full sessions with a one-way stage to audience conversation, most session will now be split between panel discussion and audience interaction. The objective is to get the audience engaged in giving out idea, in stimulating the direction of the conversation and help create solutions. Normally conventions tend to keep very little or no time for Q&A or interaction. We wish to flip that around.
Therefore, we are asking you, our members, to send in any questions, ideas, thoughts you may have to help our moderator prepare their panel and bring your questions to the audience. Even if you are not attending this year, we would love to hear from you. We want to keep the engagement strong and healthy.
The theme on "Indian Tourism – Time to reinvent ourselves” was chosen with careful thought. 
This year’s convention theme is inspired by the challenges our industry has faced over the past year and the steps we must take to move forward. George Bernard Shaw said - “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
The past few years have seen the Indian tourism industry go through tremendous stress. An aged destination brand, low traveller demand, constant assaults from taxation & policy changes, changing distribution systems – so much has gone on and changing in our industry. Keeping up is not only hard but sometimes almost impossible. So what do we do in this scenario? How do we as stakeholders cope?
The time has come to take a deep look on how we have been running our industry, our businesses. The time has come to consider the possibilities to reinvent ourselves and start investing in a new future. We must never stop moving. Just as established products and brands need updating to stay alive and vibrant, you periodically need to refresh or reinvent yourself. Especially today, because it's a whole different market.
This year’s convention will bring in a different format. We are limiting the sessions and increasing the interaction time. We want the deliberations to be dynamic and two way. Every session will have a panel to set-up the discussion followed by dedicated discussion time with the audience on the topic. We want you, our members to be involved in the discussion on how we are to take the industry out of its doldrums.
When things are bad, it’s the best time to reinvent yourself. our power to choose your direction of your life allows you to reinvent yourself, to change your future, and to powerfully influence the rest of creation.
Let’s make this a wonderful convention.

Friday / September 8, 2017
10:00 am – 11:00 am – Session # 1 - India – Our Brand, Our Positioning
  • Moderator
          - Homa Mistry, CEO, Trailblazers Tours India
  • Panellists

        - Rashmi Verma, Secretary Tourism, Govt of India
        - Varun Channa, Senior Vice President & Managing Partner / J. Walter Thompson Worldwide
        - Hemant Mediratta, Vice President – Sales / Oberoi Hotels & Resorts
        - Rajeev Kohli, Senior VP / IATO; Joint Managing Director / Creative Travel

12:15 pm – 1:00 pm – Session # 2 – Odisha – the makings of an exciting tourism destination
  • Moderator
         - Reema Lokesh, Editor / Express Travel World
  • Panellists
        - Dr Mona Sharma, Principal Secretary Tourism / Govt of Odisha
        - Suresh Chandra Mohapatra, IAS, Addl. Chief Secretary, Dept. of Forest & Environment / Govt. of Odisha
        - Sanjeev Chopra, IAS, Principal Secretary, Dept. of Industries / Govt. of Odisha
        - Pronab Sarkar, President / IATO; Managing Director / Swagatam Tours
        - J.K. Mohanty, Chairman IATO Eastern Region; CMD / Swosti Group
        - Gagan Sarangi, Chairman IATO Odisha Chapter; Managing Director / Dove Tours
1:00 pm – 1:30 pm – Session # 3 – Aviation - new polices and new opportunities
  • Moderator

         - Subhash Goyal, Immediate Past President / IATO; Chairman / STIC Travels

  • Panellists
         - Ashwini Lohani, Chairman / Railway Board
         - EM Najeeb, Chairman / Air Travel Enterprises
        - Suresh Nair, General Manager / Air Asia
        - Sanjay Kumar, COO / Indigo Airlines
2:45 pm – 3:05 pm – Session # 4 - FAITH and the GST Journey
  • Presentation by Aashish Gupta, Consulting CEO / FAITH
3:20 pm – 4:10 pm – Session # 3- Marketing – stop serving old wine in a new bottle
  • Moderator
          - Rajeev Kohli, Senior VP / IATO; Joint Managing Director / Creative Travel
  • Panellists
       - Bharat Atree, Managing Director / Caper Travels
       - Simon Press, Senior Exhibition Director, World Travel Market
       - Deboo Patnaik, Director / The Crown hotel
      - Shoba Mohan, Director / Rare India
5:00 pm – 5:30 pm – Session # 5 - The Next Generation – Challenges & Opportunities.
  • Moderator
         - Rajnish Kaistha; Director / Paradise India
  • Panellists
        - Suyash Gupta, Director / Travel Bureau
        - Sakshi Mehra, General Manager / Uday Tours & Travels
        - Aditya Loomba, Director / Eco Rent a Car
        - Akanska Garg, Director / Waxpol Hotels
5:30 pm – 6:30 pm – Session # 6 - Moving Beyond Culture & Heritage
  • Moderator
         - Ravi Gosain, Managing Director / Erco Travels
  • Panellists
       - Carl Vaz, Chairman & CEO / Charson Advisory Services
       - Bjorn DeNiese, Vice President Sales & Marketing / Mayfair Hotels & Resorts
       - Karan Anand, Head Relationships / Cox & Kings
       - Ekta Kapur, Director / Rudra Experiences
       - Aashish Gupta, Strategy Pluto
Saturday / September 9, 2017 9:00 am – 10:00 am – GST Masterclass – 60 mins
  • Moderator
          - Pronab Sarkar, President / IATO; Managing Director / Swagatam Tours
  • Experts invited
         - Bipin Sapra, Partner / Ernst and Young India
         - Subhash Kamra, Advocate
10:30 am – 11:30 am – Session # 7 - Socially Active – Using Facebook to generate business
  • Experts Presenting are
        - Kush Sagar- Head of Business Development / Facebook South Asia
        - Nalini Singh- Senior Growth Manager / Facebook South Asia
12:15 pm – 1:00 pm – Session # 8 – New Business Ideas, New Horizons
  • Moderator
           - Amaresh Tiwari, Hony. Treasurer / IATO, Managing Director / AT Seasons & Vacations
  • Panellists
        - Sanjeev Joshi, Director / TIME
        - Akshay Kumar, Director / Mercury Himalaya Expeditions
        - Sanjay Basu, Director / Far Horizons Tours
        - Chetan Gupta, Director / RG Destinations
        - Sandeep Jain, Hony. Joint Secretary- IATO, Managing Director / Special Holidays Travel
Read more about the sessions in the attachment. We look forward to hearing from you.

Best Regards

Rajeev Kohli
Senior Vice President
Indian Association of Tour Operators
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