Iato’s 30th Convention To Revitalise Tourism Industry: Rajeev Kohli

Iato’s 30th Convention To Revitalise Tourism Industry: Rajeev Kohli

Rajeev Kohli, Chairman of 30th Convention of Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) said that this year’s convention of IATO will be about revitalising “our business, our industry, ourselves.” The convention will “take a holistic approach on three aspects of daily lives – Persons, Business and Industry.” 

This is the second convention Rajeev Kohli is chairing and the third for which he has led the content development. “We have stayed true to our focus on addressing the needs, challenges and desires of our members. We have focused on the challenges that stakeholders in our industry face. We want the content to inspire our audience. This has stayed true for our past two conventions and this year’s convention will be no different. The past two conventions had seen the content being mature in its format and topics. This year is no different. We have dug deep into our own personal experiences and challenges of operating in today’s business environment to bring you session that we hope is relevant to each one of us,” said Kohli. He added, “This convention will be about revitalising our business, our industry, ourselves, and to take a holistic approach on three aspects of our daily lives – Persons, Business and Industry.” After seven years, the convention of IATO is taking place in Delhi. Last time in 2007, the convention was held in Delhi. “We are excited to be back in Delhi after so many years. This city has changed. The way we showcase the city has changed. The political environment in the city has changed. So it is time for us to come, deliberate and embrace those changes as our own and work together to make the Indian tourism industry even more vibrant and progressive.” A lot of behind the scenes effort has gone into making this year’s content engaging, thought- provoking and relevant to delegates of the convention.

“We have focused on issues that are relevant to our smallest and largest members alike. We have brought in some illustrious speakers from all over the country, to share their experiences and insights. So do stay on for all the session and make the discussions meaningful through your interactions. We also felt it was also important strategically for the industry to be in Delhi this year,” said Kohli. ‘New Beginnings | Fresh Ideas | Vibrant Futures’ Elaborating on the theme of this year’s convention, Kohli said, “2014 is a landmark turning point for Indian tourism. For the first time in three decades the nation has moved out of coalition politics at the Centre. For the first time in a decade we have a Prime Minister that walks the talk on tourism. The recent budget has shown a path forward for our industry with the electronic travel authorization (ETA) visa system and some relief on taxes. 2014 also saw our members voting in a progressive and younger IATO Team. 2014 is a time of new starts all around. We have new hope in the industry. So our theme for this year is very apt. We want to focus on the great opportunities the new future holds for us.” The convention is being organised in Delhi with an intention to engage the new Government at the Centre, which is pro-tourism industry Government. “Being in Delhi will allow us to engage the new political leadership better and bring in the top administrative decision makers to our sessions,” said Kohli. Tourism has some space in the mind of the Modi Government “IATO is on a growth trajectory. We see some major changes coming into the way we work, the way we interact with our members and the way we position ourselves in the industry. The recent general budget of the government saw for the first time in many years that tourism has been given a significant mention in the union budget and this is a great success for us,” said Kohli.

“The industry had been collectively lobbying all political parties in the run up to the elections and had also reached out to multiple critical ministries over the past many months. This is the first time that such a collective action was taken on this scale and that has clearly shown its results. The combined forces of a body like FAITH and our own body IATO along with others have shown the way forward for our industry to get more relevance in the future. This signifies that tourism does have some space in the mind of the Modi Government.” New wave of thinking is required in the Government Kohli feels that a fresh wave of thinking is needed in the Government at a basic level as they create the policies and infrastructure that the industry needs to make tourism happen. “In my opinion, we need to throw out the old policy book all together and start from the scratch. We need to be innovative. We need to be daring. The world of tourism marketing is already saturated with brilliant ideas and visuals. We need to top them all,” said Kohli, adding, “We in IATO intend to be active partners in that process and are in constant dialog with the Government on obtaining our common goals of making India a great tourist product.” This year’s IATO convention has a fascinating lie-up of speakers from within the industry and from outside. It is healthy mix of government, members and specialists.

We have stayed true to our focus on addressing the needs, challenges and desires of our members. We have focused on the challenges that stakeholders in our industry face. We want the content to inspire our audience. This has stayed true for our past two conventions and this year’s convention will be no different. The past two conventions had seen the content being mature in its format and topics. Rajeev Kohli Chairman, 30th IATO Convention & Vice President, IATO

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