31st IATO Convention successfully concludes in Indore

Indian Tour Operators Association of India (IATO) held it 31st Convention in Indore, population- wise the largest city of Madhya Pradesh and also the commercial capital of the state. The convention is expected to further boost tourism in the state, which is already on upswing.

This year theme of the IATO Convention was ‘Tourism: We will change the Indian Economy’, and the convention discussed ideas and ways as to how Tourism can change the Indian Economy and contribute handsomely in the economic development of the country.

The inaugural session of the convention saw presence of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Union Minister for Tourism & Culture (Independent Charge) Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Tourism Minister of MP, Surendra Patwa , Ashwani Lohani, then Commissioner-cum- MD of MP Tourism, who has now been appointed CMD of Air India, and office bearers of IATO among many other dignitaries and delegates.

Welcoming delegates in the commercial capital of the state, Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh (MP), dwelled upon the economic growth the state has made in recent years. He talked about the growth the state has made in the sectors like road infrastructure, electricity generation and agriculture. He talked about the state potential in the tourism sector, and listed steps taken by the state government to promote tourism. He said that his state has everything to be a number one tourism state in the country. “We have heritage and spiritual tourism; we have wildlife tourism, we have eco tourism.”

Talking about the wildlife potential in tourism sector of the state, the CM highlighted the fact that number of tigers in Panna Tiger Reserve has gone upto 32 from 0. He asserted that he aims to make MP as number one Indian state in tourism sector.

The three-day annual convention of the IATO was held from 20th August to 23th August, 2015 at the newly launched hotel, The Grand Bhag-wati, Indore, which has state-of the-art convention facilities.

Speaking at the inaugural session, Dr Mahesh Sharma, Union Minister of State for Culture and Tourism (Independent Charge) who is also the Minister of State for Civil Aviation, informed the delegates of the convention that MoT has advised the Union Finance Ministry to accord the ‘Infrastructure’ status to the tourism sector. He applauded MP CM for his vision and efforts to develop the state.

The minister said that we have every kind of tourism products such as Himalayas, spiritualism, heritage, wildlife, beaches etc. “We are a 365 days destination. We just need to promote our tourism products.” He also touched upon the issues of cleanness and security in the tourism sector.

Dr Sharma advised media to play a constructive and responsible role in promotion of tourism, and do not exaggerate small untoward incidents to make them big issues.

During the inaugural session, Ashwani Lohani gave a presentation on the tourism potential of MP and steps taken by the state government to promote tourism.

Many productive and interactive Business secessions were held during three days of the convention, discussing issues and challenges faced by Indian tourism industry and inbound tour operators.

On the occasion, while making a slews of recommendation, Subhash Goyal, President, IATO, flagged many issues related to e-Tourist visa (ETV) originally launched as visa-on arrival enabled by electronic travel authorization (ETA), which replaced manual tourist visa on arrival. Goyal said that e-Tourist visa should be made valid for multipoint entry, which is currently valid for single point entry. Goyal also asked government to extend the validity of e-visa to 60-day period. He also requested the home ministry to allow foreign nationals to apply for e-Tourist Visa 6 months prior to his travel.

Valedictory session was addressed by Anthony J C Desa, Chief Secretary, Government of Madhya Pradesh among others. Along the convention, an exhibition was also held.

  • Issues related to e-Tourist Visa were discussed
  • 31st IATO Convention discussed taxation issues
  • Around 1,200 delegates attended 31st IATO convention

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