The 33rd IATO Convention was organised from 07th to 10th September 2017 at the Mayfair Convention Centre, Bhubaneshwar. The theme of the convention was Indian Tourism- Time to reinvent overselves”. Mr. Rajiv Mehra was the Chairman of the convention along with Mr. Lally Mathews as the Co Chairman.

The convention was inaugurated by Sri Navin Patnaik, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Odisha, Shri K.J. Alphons, Minister of State (IC) for tourism, Government of India, with Mr. Ashok Chandra Panda, Tourism Minister of Odisha, Mrs. Rashmi Verma, secretary (Tourism), Mrs Meenakshi Sharma, ADG ( Tourism), Mrs ashima Mehrotra, director Tourism, Mr. J.P. Shaw, Regional Director, India Tourism East, Mr. Anil Oraw, Asst. Director(TT) & otgher officials. Later Mr. Satyajeet Rajan, Director General ( Tourism), also joined for the Valedictory Session. This was really encouraging for  IATO. The event started with a colourful cultural programme sponsored by odhissa Tourism, followed by lighting of lamp by the dignitaries on the stage with Pomp and show at Mayfair Convention Centre, Bhubanehswar, Odisha

In his  welcome  address  , Mr. Rajiv Memhra  , Chairman IATO 33rd  Convention profusely thanked Hon’ble Chief Minister and all the  diginitaries for  their gracious presence. In spite of  their busy schedule, they could  spare time  to be with us for  the inaugural session. He  thee after briefly introduced the IATO programme for the convention with the request for ecerybodys active participation in various events. He specilly mentioned about value additions during the convention & very thought provoking business sessions espacialy arranged for  the  delegates.

In his  Presidential address, Mr. Pronab sarkar talked about the  reasons  to have  this  year’s convention theme” Indian Tourism – Time to reinvent ourselves” and  areas where the  trade need support of  the  government  to meet the  new  challenges of  tourism industry. He appreciated the  decision to provide lot of  value additions  to the    

E-Tourist Visa and relaxation made with multiple entry and long duration, improved infrastructure, efforts to reach new markets with close cooperation of BRICS members and focus on Niche Tourism Products. However, air connectivity and budget hotels are the need of the hour to make India competitive. He also talked about the progress made by Odisha Tourism under the leadership of the dynamic Chief Minister and how happy IATO members are to form the partnership with Odisha government and the travel trade in Odisha. He also mentioned the areas which need immediate attention by the Odisha government to bring Odisha in the global tourist map and also issues that need attention of the Government regarding applicability of GST on tourism related services.

In her address Dr. Mona Sharma, Principal Secretary Tourism and Culture

Government of Odisha expressed happiness about the partnership formed with IATO and how the efforts can help in boosting business towards Odisha destinations. Members must explore various destinations and put those places in the tourism packages for overseas clients.

Mrs. Rashmi Verma, Secretary (Tourism), Government of India in her address updated the delegates on new initiatives of the Ministry. With incredible India Campaign expected to be launched in September Ministry will run market specific Campaigns in different countries through local and electronic channels as well as digital media. She also mentioned about the efforts for diversification of tourism products while talking about other initiatives.

Tourism Minister of Odisha, Mr. Ashok Chandra Panda also talked about the overall progress in tourism sector. He also talked about the new thrust areas of Odisha Tourism, global marketing partnerships, innovative use of technology in tourism promotions. He also talked about the new thrust areas for tourism like Beaches, Forts etc., which will be a priority in tourism developments and government's liberal financial assistance to the states for infrastructure development in an integrated manner. Hon'ble Tourism Minister also talked about state Government's Positive marketing strategies which has been drawn up to boost international tourist arrivals in Odisha and strong partnerships developed with all stakeholders.

Hon'ble Minister of Tourism, Govt. of India, Shri K.J. Alphons in his address requested the members to come up with new radical ideas which can increase tourism to our country.

Hon'ble Chief Minister of Odisha, Shri Navin Patnaik in his address talked about the tourism potential of Odisha and how remarkable changes have taken place in the tourism scene and how proactively government is promoting investments in tourism sector. Everybody is welcomed in this development programme.

Vote of thanks was raised by Mr Lally Mathews, Co-chairman IATO Convention and Hony Secretary (IATO).

He profusely thanked Hon'ble Chief Minister Shri Naveen Patnaik, for his inaugurating the 33rd IATO Convention in spite of his busy schedule. He also thanked Mr. K.J. Alphons for his gracious

Presence and for his blessing the convention. He then thanked the Hon’ble Minister of Odisha Shri Ashok Chandra and for his guidance in all me to IATO Convention and his team for their full cooperation and directions how to move in all matters related to holding of this convention thanked all other VIP delegates on dais including media members and guests. He extended special thanks to all state governments who sponsorship to IATO and all sponsors, advertisers and trade participating in the Travel Mart.

On this occasion IATO's Hall of Fame was bestowed upon Mr. Jitendra Kumar  Mohanty, CMD Swosti Group for his extending valuable services to the tourism and  hospitality industry and especially to Odisha. IATO also felicitated honoured Ms. Dutee Chand, National Champion of 100 meter sprint.

After the inaugural function, India Travel Mart was inaugurated coinciding area the IATO Convention which was followed by Odishi Dance Performance by Ms. Aruna Mohanty, a very renowned, Odishi Dancer and thereafter dinner hosted by  Shri Ashok Chandra Panda, Tourism Minister of Odisha at Mayfair Convention Centre.

On the second day of the convention, IATO Run for Responsible Tourism was organized, which was a great opportunity for members to participate in an activity with a cause. Continuing his support to the association, Shri Ashok Chandra Panda, Hon'ble Minister of State (IC) Tourism and Culture, Government of Odisha flagged off the run. Mr. Nitin Jawale, Director Odisha Tourism also participated in the Run. The participant's enthusiasm was a perfect start to the enlightening day that was planned ahead.

  • The main topics of business sessions were:-

               - Active Members/Tour Operators/Travel Agents session, which included

  • The discussion on the following:

              - Ethics and Business

              - Investing in your business - on infrastructure and employees

              - Guide fee revisions

  • India-Our Brand, Our Positioning

            - Odisha- the makings of an exciting tourism destination

            - Aviation - new polices and new opportunities

            - FAITH and the GST Journey

  • Stop serving old wine in a new bottle

           - The Next Generation Challenges & Opportunities

           - Moving Beyond Culture & Heritage

           - GST Master class

           - Socially Active - Using Facebook to generate business 

           - New Business Ideas

New Horizons The IATO Chill-out Zone - with Anshu Mor, a leading stand-up comic

The valedictory session saw the august presence of Chief Guest H.E. Dr. S.C. Jamir Governor of Odisha: Congratulating the that underwent for setting up a great convention, he said, I have seen that this he said, "I have seen that this annual event has been immensely productive and helped to raise the tourism bar for several states and see the great opportunity unfold for Odisha. The state possesses a unique identity through its various tourism offerings and I am sure the IATO members have witnessed its true potential. More international connections, e-visa, facility at airports and infrastructure development can further boost tourism in Odisha. Our government's dedication along with IATO team's efforts will surely work to the state's benefit."

Extending his congratulations to the IATO team, Satyajeet Rajan, Director General (Tourism), Government of India, stated, "India moved 12 ranks on competitiveness for travel and tourism list released by the World Economic Forum. Looking at the sincerity and dedication of IATO members, we can sure reach the top 20 rankings soon. Together as representatives of India we need to find more striking markets in Asia, China and South Africa to grow tourist arrivals."

During the course of convention, presentations were made by various state governments, which gave an insight of the new products and developed infrastructure in each state.

After the convention, various post-convention tours were organized, which were attended by large number of members. They all were very happy with the hospitality extended by the sponsors.

Besides the Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India and the host State Odisha, the other states who participated in the convention were Andhra Pradesh: Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal Tourism. This was a record participation from the state. Governments. Air India and IndiGo were the airline sponsors. Cocktails and Dinner was hosted by Swosti Group and Mayfair Hotels and Resorts on 8th and 9th September 2017 respectively. We also got full support from other hotels i.e. Mayfair Lagoon, The Trident; Fortune Park Sishmo, Hotel Hindusthan International; Swosti Premium, Swosti Grand, The Crowne Hotel, The New Marrion, who provided accommodation to the delegate at a special rate.Tea breaks were hosted by M/s. Reed Travel Exhibitions and SATTE/T3.

Toshali Sands and Resorts, Om Leisure, Pramod Hotels and Resorts, Estuarine Village and Resorts hosted accommodation for the post tours. E.T. Holidays, Europa D' Tours Ltd., Travel Trade Journal, Espirit Toyota, Sand Pebbles Tour N Travels. Dove Tours Pvt. Ltd. were the other sponsors of IATO Run and Cultural programme.

As part of the IATO Convention, a day before Chapter Chairmen meeting was organized wherein all Chapter Chairman were present and interacted with Executive Committee members. Most of the Chapter Chairman from states talked about Guide problems, GST issues, and successful workshops/Seminars organized. They also put forth a proposal for having EC meeting in States also so that there could be greater interaction.

On behalf of the EC, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to all the hosts and sponsors for making the convention a grand success. I would like to thank all the members in the organizing committee especially Mr. Rajiv Mehra, Chairman of the Convention and Mr. Rajeev Kohli for designing the convention programme. would like to thank our Chapter Chairman, Mr. Gagan Sarangi for the excellent work done with support from Mr. J.K. Mohanty our Regional Chapter Chairman and Mr. Alok Maharana and with support from our members in Odisha. Thanks to Mr. Amaresh Tiwari for organizing yet another successful IATO Run.

Thanks to all the Chapter Chairmen in making this convention a grand success. Thanks to all the delegates who attended in large numbers and showed IATO strength and unity. Thanks to all the media members for attending the convention and giving wide coverage. Thanks to the entire staff at the IATO Secretariat for working hard and making this convention a big success.