At its annual convention in Bhubaneswar, the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) plans to showcase development undertaken by Odisha to its members and leverage inbound tourism to the state.
The annual convention will be held at Hotel Mayfair Convention, Bhubaneswar, where participation of more than 1200 delegates is expected. Pronab Sarkar, President, IATO, says, “Bhubaneswar has made landmark changes in its infrastructure development, added new tourism products and has new circuits to offer to tourists. There is a lot of change visible in the state since the time we had our last convention in Bhubaneswar in 2008.”
Ashok Chandra Panda, Minister of Tourism and Culture (I/C), Government of Odisha, has extended full support to the association for the convention. Panda says, “We shall offer all support to IATO to make their convention a success and hope to showcase the state’s various tourism circuits to the delegates through the post-familiarisation tours. We have identified tourism as a sector where growth can be doubled. We have 356 tourist sites in the state and have also eased the restrictions to visit the tribal areas. With improvement in the law and order situation coupled with the tourism policy, we hope to grow this sector manifolds and increase footfall from domestic and inbound tourists.”
Rajiv Mehra, Vice President, IATO and Chairman, IATO Convention, elaborated that the theme for this year’s convention is ‘India TourismTime to reinvent ourselves,’ which will deliberate on the ways the industry has been running its businesses. “The time has come to consider the possibilities to reinvent ourselves and start investing in a new future. Just as established products and brands need updating to stay alive, you periodically need to refresh or reinvent yourself,” he says.
Elaborating on the choice of location for the convention, Lally Mathews, Honorary Secretary, IATO and Co-Chairman of IATO Convention, says, “Odisha offers everything, be it beaches, pilgrimage, hill station, wildlife, shopping, Ayurveda, medical tourism, etc. Concurrently with our convention, there will be an India Travel Mart which is an opportunity for exhibitors to showcase exciting and diverse range of destinations and conference venues.”