HEENA MAHAJAN – New Delhi
The Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) will organise its 28th annual convention from August 30-September 2, 2012 at the National Centre for Performing Arts in Mumbai. The theme of the convention is ‘Moving Forward in Challenging Times – Together.’ Rajeev Kohli, joint managing director, Creative Travel India has been appointed as the chairman of the IATO Convention 2012. Lally Mathews, managing director, Vacations Travels & Tours has been appointed as co- chairman of the convention. “The primary focus of organising the convention in Mumbai is to bring the city back in the limelight which has remained as a one night stay destination.,” informed Mathews. The convention will hold discussions on all the prevailing issues in the industry which have become a matter of prime concern.
Speaking exclusively to Express TravelWorld, Subhash Goyal, president, IATO said, “This year we are expecting 1,500 delegates of industry stakeholders, foreign delegates, eminent speakers, top officials from the ministry of Tourism – Government of India and from various state tourism boards, etc., for the convention. We have already completed 900 registrations when there is still almost a month to go.”
Talking about the theme, Goyal added, “Every convention organised by the association has been different and has always been with an idea to raise new and existing issues with a difference. The main objective is to increase inbound tourism in the country and think of new ways to take it forward. This year – all the prevailing issues in the travel and tourism industry, which has become a matter of concern like service tax, VOA, increasing cost of air travel, and more will be raised.”
“This year Maharashtra Tourism put the highest bid and was very keen to promote new areas amongst tour operators. They want them to know that there is more to Maharashtra except Mumbai. They main area of focus is Sindhudurg, and Ganpatipule. The post convention tours has also been organised,” he said. According to him, all the issues raised at the convention will be taken forward to the government through various channels, media being the most powerful of them.