IATO Convention 2014 concludes on resolve to make new beginnings with fresh ideas

IATO Convention 2014 concludes on resolve to make new beginnings with fresh ideas

The 30th Annual Convention of Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), held on September 4-7, 2014, at Kempinski Ambience Hotel Delhi, concluded on a very positive note. Apart from discussing the various issues concerning the travel and tourism industry of the India, IATO lauded the vision and efforts of the new government led by PM Narendra Modi to promote tourism.

IATO at its 30th convention expressed its happiness over protourism initiatives taken by the new government at the Centre led by PM Narendra Modi. IATO was quite happy that tourism has become a key talking point of the current policy discourse and is getting due and much-desired attention from the new Central Government. According to IATO, this is the new beginning for the India travel and tourism industry, and now Indian tourism industry certainly has a promising future. The convention also emphasized the need to make new beginning in terms of fresh ideas and new policy. The convention indeed proved to be a platform of exchange of great and noble ideas. With its theme as ‘New Beginnings, Fresh Ideas and Vibrant Future’, the 30th annual convention of IATO was attended by about 1,200 delegates from across the country and from various segment of the travel and tourism industry. The convention offered and debated many new ideas on how to better the tourism industry of the country and take it to a new height. Speaking at the inaugural session of the convention, Subramanian Swamy, Senior BJP leader and a member of Rajya Sabha, and a former Minister, asked the industry to focus on the rich culture and heritage of the country to promote tourism.

He also exhorted industry to focus on neighborhood markets to increase the number of foreign tourist arrivals in the country. He also calls for new tourism policy with focus on the culture and traditions of the country such as Yoga and Ayurveda. Shripad Yesso Naik, Minister of State with Independent Charge for Tourism and Culture, Govt. of India, who could not be present for the inaugural ceremony of the Convention, through a video message, appreciated IATO for its efforts to promote India as a preferred destination. In his address at the inaugural session of IATO session, Subhash Goyal, President, IATO said, “We welcome the spirit of the new government led by PM Narendra Modi. The new government has given tourism industry new hope.

This is for the first time that tourism has been granted such a high priority.” Goyal said that tourism is the only industry today which has potential to eradicate poverty from the country by creating sufficient employment opportunities and income for the people of the country. Rajeev Kohli, VP, IATO and Chairman, IATO Convention 2014, while assuring the government the full-support of IATO to realize the potential of tourism in India, said that the Convention and its deliberations would revitalize the industry to prepare for future competition. Kohli called for replacing old ideas with new one to make a new beginning in the travel and tourism industry of the country. Major Vijay Singh Mankotia, Vice Chairman, Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation, urged the government of India to set up a dedicated body compromising Himalayan states of India to develop tourism infrastructure in the Himalayan states. Ashok Chandra Panda, Minister for Tourism & Culture, Govt. of Odisha asked the industry to adopt a ‘Look East’ policy to promote tourism in the Eastern and the North-Eastern region of the India. Participating in a business session on civil aviation,

Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pusapati, Union Minister for Civil Aviation, said that India has huge potential in the aviation sector with a growing middle class and increasing disposable income. He further said that the new government understands the role of seamless air connectivity in development of tourism, and is committed to improvement of civil aviation infrastructure in the country.

The Minister said that it is important that Indians develop pride in their destinations, culture and traditions. In order to encourage this, the government is keen to develop no-frill airports at places where there is currently no air connectivity, he stated. “We have to bring closer the places that are not currently easily accessible,” he said. Pusapati also informed that Government is formulating a bill on hijacking of airplanes. Agreeing that the pervading high baggage charges and limits on the weight that a tourist can carry on an aircraft, are problems being faced by tourists, Pusapati informed that his ministry are looking into these issues seriously. R H Khwaja, former Tourism Secretary, Govt. of India, suggested the formation of a high-level inter-ministerial committee on tourism headed by the Prime Minister on tourism-related issues. Sarab Jit Singh, Sr. VP, IATO, said that implementation of e-visa would certainly give a big impetus to Inbound tourism in the country. Speaking at the valedictory session of the Convention, Sripad Yesso Naik said that MoT is working towards promoting sustainable Tourism, MICE Tourism, and fast implementation of e-visa.

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