Full house at IATO convention

The 38th IATO Annual Convention, organised recently in Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar (Aurangabad) on the ‘Inbound Tourism and Emerging Sustainable Trends’ theme, debated on the changing landscape of Indian tourism. The convention also brought into limelight the tourism of the host city.

Janice Alyosius

The 38th IATO Annual Convention, hosted recently in the vibrant city of Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar (Aurangabad), brought together travel industry experts. The theme for this year’s convention was ‘Inbound Tourism and Emerging Sustainable Trends,’ which highlighted the evolving landscape of the tourism sector in India. The theme aligned with the global focus on responsible tourism, leading to inclusive growth. This year’s convention was different, given that India’s G20 Presidency has put the country in the global spotlight, creating a golden opportunity to leverage inbound tourism to its full potential.

Praising the association members for their efforts, Rajiv Mehra, President, IATO, said, “Our members put forth extraordinary efforts in ensuring the success of the convention. The attendees were equally diligent, actively participating in the sessions. It’s crucial for all stakeholders to unite and move forward together to successfully drive the industry forward, as this is the path to stability. Sustainability is achieved when we move collectively, and we are witnessing this collaboration now.”

He also emphasised on the collaboration between hotels and travel agents, saying, “Hotels and travel agents should work hand in hand. Pride Hotels Group and the Royal Orchid Hotels have pledged to offer exclusive rates for IATO members, and I will personally oversee the follow-up on this initiative.”

Rajnish Kaistha, Senior Vice President, IATO and the Convention Chairman, said, “After the convention, members will explore what Aurangabad has to offer during post-convention tours. Once they gain firsthand experience, they will incorporate these experiences into their itineraries and share them with clients.”

Ravi Gosain, Vice President, IATO, said, “We are striving to host our conventions in remote locations. We are delighted to return to Maharashtra after a decade; this time to Aurangabad, now known as Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar. Ajanta and Ellora, which are one of the first UNESCO declared sites in India, holds immense potential. It was once a regular part of itineraries for many tour operators, attracting numerous foreign tourists. Unfortunately, when the flight route from Udaipur to Aurangabad and then onwards to Mumbai was cancelled, we had no choice but to reluctantly remove it from our itineraries. However, we have been in discussions with several airlines to reinstate these flights after this convention.”

About the next IATO meet, Gosain said, “We are actively working to select a venue for next year’s convention. We are in discussions with Goa and Madhya Pradesh, and we are optimistic about a favourable outcome from Madhya Pradesh.”

Sanjay Razdan, Honorary Secretary, IATO, and the Convention Co-Chairman, said, “If you look at our past conventions, traditionally and historically, wherever we have held them, it has significantly promoted the tourism of that state.”


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