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IATO curtain raiser in Mumbai offers a glimpse of the upcoming Annual Convention

IATO curtain raiser in Mumbai offers a glimpse of the upcoming Annual Convention

A curtain-raiser press event was held in Mumbai on September 12, 2023, at Hotel President, IHCL SeleQtions, to highlight the initiatives of the 38th IATO Annual Convention, which is scheduled to take place between September 29 and October 2, 2023, in Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar (Aurangabad), Maharashtra. Besides the IATO Convention’s core organising team, the dignitaries from the Directorate of Tourism, Maharashtra, and other government officials who attended the curtain raiser were Ambadas Eknathrao Danve, Leader of Opposition; BN Patil, Director, Tourism; Radhika Rastogi, Principal Secretary, Tourism; and Shraddha Joshi Sharma, MD, MTDC.

The theme of the convention is ‘Inbound Tourism and Emerging Sustainable Trends’, WelcomHotel by ITC Hotels Rama International will be the venue hotel, and all the activities on all three days, i.e., registration for the convention, the inaugural function, business sessions, and evening programmes, will be held at Rama International.

Rajiv Mehra, President, Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) apprised that the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Eknath Shinde, has confirmed to inaugurate the opening function, and in attendance will be Devendra Fadnavis, Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra; Girish Dattatray Mahajan, Hon’ble Minister of Tourism, Govt. of Maharashtra; Ambadas Eknathrao Danve, Leader of Opposition; and senior officials from the Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India, and Govt. of Maharashtra. Many state tourism departments will participate, and about 15 states are expected to participate in the convention. Ajit Pawar, Deputy Chief Minister, will join the valedictory session on October 1, 2023.

The Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) is India’s National Apex Body of Tour Operators, with membership across the country. Our membership consists of the nation’s inbound tour operators, travel agents, hotel chains, airlines, tourist transport operators, travel press and media, tourism educational institutes, state government tourism departments, and tourism development corporations. The membership of IATO controls over 90 per cent of all inbound tourism into India. IATO’s annual convention is regarded as one of the most important events on the Indian tourism calendar and attracts over 900 delegates each year.

Mehra further informed that various post-convention tours and spouse tours have been arranged for the delegates to showcase Maharashtra, which will include visits to Ajanta and Ellora Caves, Shirdi, Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga Temple, Lonar Crater, Shani Shingnapur Temple, Trimbakeshwar Temple, Sula Vineyards, etc. “This will help IATO members who have not seen these places to include them in their itinerary and promote them in domestic and international markets,” opined Mehra.

Rajnish Kaistha, Senior Vice President and Chairman of the Convention said, “We have had an overwhelming response from the members, and we expect about 900–1000 delegates from all over the country to participate, which will include senior officials from the Ministry of Tourism, the Government of India, and states, industry leaders, tourism and hospitality professionals, and travel trade media. There are five post-convention tours being organised in various sectors. This year, we also expect larger participation from the state governments, as every state is keen to re-instate inbound tourism to their respective states. Last year, we had participation from 18 states. During the 3-day convention, there will be deliberations on burning issues during the business sessions being finalised, and we will have experts in all fields. During the convention, IATO is also organising a marketing innovation competition at ITC Rama International. The main aim of the competition is to encourage creativity and quality in video, CDs, posters, and brochures for state governments, tour operators, hotels, and travel media. The awards are to honour outstanding work, giving due importance to creativity, thus giving recognition to designers and producers.”

“Besides the serious discussions during the business sessions, we will have the IATO Run for Responsible Tourism on October 1st, and awards will be given in various categories to the winners and runners-up. Also, we will have an evening entertainment programme on all three days, and delegates will enjoy taking time off from their busy schedules throughout the year. During the convention, IATO is also organising the Indian Tourism Fair (Travel Mart) on September 30 and October 1, 2023, at Welcomhotel by ITC Hotels, Rama International, venue of the convention, which will give an opportunity for our members to interact with the state tourism department and other stakeholders who are exhibiting to interact with each other and promote tourism,” shared Sanjay Razdan, Hony. Secretary and Co-Chairman of the Convention.