Priyanka Saxena Ray
Rajiv Mehra, President IATO
“I would like to tell my fellow IATO members that be optimistic, we have left Covid behind. Hygiene, Safety and Security for tourists are our watch words. The policy makers are upbeat and we are armed with our viable suggestions for them to take a look at over one on one meetings in order to boost Inbound Tourism.”
The 37th Annual Convention will see a different set of agenda that will revolve around Tourism and shall address the key facets of the sector in a way that merges with the present requirement for the industry. We have connectivity, investment, hotel and tour operators’ synergy, inbound tourism – a session with key policy makers, marketing and promotion, new ideas and state presentations.
At the Convention, there are well-thought-of segments that have their own USPs. However, if I am to select the top three I would put forward – The Theme Session on Inbound Tourism; The Other Business Sessions along with the presentations of the Host State – Uttar Pradesh and the Presentations by the Participating States addressing the requirements of the stakeholders.
I would like to tell my fellow IATO members that be optimistic, we have left Covid behind. Hygiene, Safety and Security for tourists are our watch words. The policy makers are upbeat and we are armed with our viable suggestions for them to take a look at over one on one meetings. The Ministry of Tourism is proactive and we have requested them on the strategic issues faced by our valued membership. These includes – theneed for physical road shows,FAM for bloggers and foreign tour operators and E-Visa for Canada, Germany and other European Countries and countries which are left out. Opening up of E-Visa to UK has been a major boost.
Regarding revival of inbound tourism, we are optimistic. Business is trickling in, but what is most important is the need for effective marketing and promotion by Ministry of Tourism Government of India and we have highlighted our request in the aforesaid point. We have also requested the State Governments to draft in the presence of tour operators from across the country in their promotional campaign.
Coming back to IATO Convention, the year too, we have the entertainment features also in our convention like before but with a different flavour. The usual IATO run, entertainment evenings, motivational speaker and sumptuous luncheon and dinners will also be elaborate and unique.
E M Najeeb, Sr. Vice President, IATO
“I would like to send out a message to my fellow IATO members that India is ready for tourism with an unprecedented vaccination drive. Policymakers are gearing up so be positive and touch base with your foreign tour operators.”
The difference in the Convention this year, as compared to the previous ones, will be in the proposed agenda and format of the convention where the basic features will have a divergent flavour in tune with the present scenario
I would like to send out a message to my fellow IATO members that India is ready for tourism with unprecedented vaccination drive. Policy makers are gearing up so be positive and touch base with your foreign tour operators.
We are hopeful that the Ministry of Tourism will help make recovery of Inbound Tourism. Our top 3 demands from them would include –physical marketing and promotion activities; MDA for inbound tour operators and resumption of E-Visa from Canada and other European Countries. UK E-visas have come as a welcome move.
Going forward, we are very hopeful regarding revival of inbound tourism, provided effective marketing strategies are put in place as enumerated above.
I would also like to share with my IATO members that besides the above, we also take up diverse issues on behalf of our members and table it to the concerned Ministries for remedial action. Sustained follow up is also done.
Ravi Gosain, Vice President& Convention Chairman, IATO
“My fellow IATO members, it is time to hold your fort strongly. We have won the battle already and now we have to rebuild what we lost, so stay calm and be patient. Through our sessions, our members can take away some ideas, confidence and roadmap for the future. Our expert speakers will share their views on rethinking business in changed scenario.”
IATO annual convention is a marquee event of tourism industry in India. However, the 37th IATO Annual Convention will be a full-scale event post-pandemic, so we are expecting good number of delegates, charged with energy and enthusiasm to restart and rethink tourism. As a convention chairman, I am carrying a huge responsibility to meet up delegates’ high expectations and I along with our convention committee are putting lots of energy to bring up another great annual convention. This year we have brought up different knowledgeable business sessions with lesser numbers than previous years, so that we can more time for Q & A and networking. We have called few new speakers, so delegates can have a variety to hear new minds.
We are happy to bring back our convention to UP and chosen Lucknow as convention city. UP tourism department was helpful in planning and organising this event here but finding a hotel for putting all delegates in one hotel was challenge because in Lucknow most of the hotels have inventory below 150 rooms. However, we have taken multiple hotels for our delegates, but ferrying them to inaugural site and venue hotel will be something which our transport committee has to deal diligently during the convention. Due to pandemic last year we had to push our convention to December month instead of our usual time in September. This year also due to some unavoidable circumstances again our convention will be in December, I am sure it will not affect our preparation as well as enthusiasm of participating delegates. But yes, it will be bit cold in early morning for our running and walking participants at IATO Run and for evening entertainment program, which we have to conduct in an open area. We are providing gas heaters for all outside venue and I hope with good numbers and high-octane entertainment delegates will enjoy more than feeling cold.
Inbound tourism is gradually picking up after almost two years of no business and in this phase, we have high expectations from MoT to facilitate our industry the desired support. We want them to start overseas promotions both in digital and print media. I have been always vocal that India needs to be visible in front of prospective tourists, so they can be confident and decide India as their next holiday destination. Secondly, for our b2b network roadshows in different source markets are required to rebuild confidence with the foreign partners. Marketing development scheme of MoT is suspended as of now. We want that to be available for the members, so they can plan their sales trips, participation at trade fairs etc.
Rajnish Kaistha, Hony.Secretary, IATO
“Since our industry colleagues have negative zero revenue balance sheet for last two years, government must support the industry (inbound tour operators) by way of giving 50% subsidy on overseas travel exhibitions and road shows. Restoration of MDA is most desired for to get the industry going.”
The 37th IATO Convention is happening at a time when tourism is in revival mode, travel is back and people are optimistic about the future. At the Convention this year, we are expecting around 1000 delegates. The inbound tourism fraternity has emerged as most resilient after almost 30 months and we all are now geared to take up the new challenges as way forward under the new normal. I am confident that we would touching the pre covid levels in 2023/24 as we all move together in that direction.
During the pandemic, no help of any kind was extended to our industry and our colleagues for over 30 months. But now, the government must step up and help us by ensuring full participation in overseas trade shows and physical international road shows. And most importantly, there needs to be aggressive overseas positive marketing in respective regions as per the local requirements in digital as well as print media. Since our industry colleagues have negative zero revenue balance sheet for last two years, government must support the industry (inbound tour operators) by way of giving 50% subsidy on overseas travel exhibitions and road shows. Restoration of MDA is most desired for to get industry going.
Going forward, we are highly optimistic and have fought against all odds because Tourism is in our blood. So, I expect pre covid levels to come for tourism by 2023/24 season. By then most international flights shall be restored, Indian outbound traffic will level up the prices. We work our way forward with this faith.
Sunil Mishra, Treasurer, IATO
“One message that I would like to share with all IATO members is to request them to be positive. Policy makers are proactive, UK Visa has been resolved, issues are being addressed at the right ministries by IATO, so worry no more as your business tsunami is round the corner.”
All IATO Conventions are unique in their own way. The host State – Uttar Pradesh, the theme on Inbound, the well-appointed business sessions and the participating states besides the overwhelming response from the members makes this IATO Convention different this year
One message that I would like to share with all IATO members is to request them to be positive. Policymakers are proactive, UK Visa has been resolved, and issues are being addressed at the right ministries by IATO, so worry no more as your business tsunami is round the corner.
My three suggestions to the Ministry of Tourism for boosting inbound tourism would be –doing more physical marketing and promotion activities; MDA for inbound tour operators and resuming E-Visa from Canada and other European Countries.
I am very hopeful for the future, provided effective marketing strategies are put in place as enumerated above. By the fall of 2023, if Covid is kept at bay, we would be able to touch the 2019 figures.IATO is for the members, we are striving to meet their requirements by taking up the issue and placing them at the right fora over documentation and one to one meeting.
Sanjay Razdan, Treasurer, IATO
“The theme of the 37th IATO Convention is “Inbound Tourism – What lies ahead”, is a very important subject considering we have had very difficult two years and need to share ideas with all stakeholders and get some important inputs from experts for formulating plans for the future.We expect a large participation this year which should surpass the previous conventions.”
The theme of the 37th IATO Convention is “Inbound Tourism – What lies ahead”, is a very important subject considering we have had very difficult two years and need to share ideas with all stakeholders and get some important inputs from experts for formulating plans for the future. There will also be decision-makers from the State and Central government and will be a good opportunity to tell them what we want and also to listen to them as well.We expect a large participation this year which should surpass the previous conventions.
Personally, I am optimistic person and wish to tell all our friends – stay positive, worst is over. We will overcome this as most important is that we are still alive and kicking.
The top three areas that the Ministry of Tourism should focus on for boosting Inbound Tourism – to immediately start a strong campaign for India promotion by way of overseas roadshows, print and digital media ads, Fam Trips to India from major source countries, etc. They should restart MDA scheme, which has been withheld, as post pandemic, tour operators truly need financial help. Also restart incentive schemes like SEIS and once again activate the India Tourism marketing offices in major source markets.
I am very positive for the future as we have seen an upward trend and business has been getting better since June, 2022. I am sure the figures and arrival will become better by early 2023 and we hope to reach pre-pandemic levels by end of December, 2023.
We do hope with the cooperation of all stakeholders, success will come soon and we expect better support from hotels.Last but not the least, we must promote Sustainable and Eco-Tourism, which has become very important post pandemic.
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