The 31st Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) Annual Convention was inaugurated yesterday evening at the Grand Bhagwati in Indore and will continue till August 23, 2015. The theme for this year’s convention is ‘Tourism: We will change the Indian economy’.
The convention was inaugurated by Dr Mahesh Sharma, minister of state for tourism and culture and minister of state for civil aviation, Government of India; Shivraj Singh Chouhan, chief minister, Madhya Pradesh; Surendra Patwa, minister of state for tourism and culture, Government of Madhya Pradesh; Ashok Chandra Panda, minister of tourism and culture, Government of Odisha; Ashwani Lohani, commissioner and MD, Madhya Pradesh Tourism.
Dr. Sharma said, “IATO is one of the most successful associations which is also recognised internationally. Tourism is truly a game changer for the economy as it not only brings in foreign currency but also generates employment. Our government, especially our PM Modi, is focused on developing the tourism sector of our nation. Tour operators must take up the responsibility as a partner and stakeholder to develop this sector.”
CM Chouhan said, “I am glad that IATO has selected Madhya Pradesh for its annual convention. Coincidentally, the year 2015-16 is also the Madhya Pradesh Tourism Year, so this is a proud moment for us. MP is the number one state in terms of development. In the coming years I want to position MP as the number one state for tourism as well. We have launched several initiatives to fulfill this goal.”
Speaking about this year’s convention, Amaresh Tiwari, hon treasurer, IATO said, “Indore is one of the cities with an excellent infrastructure. The way MP positions itself as a tourist destination is fantastic, the tourism board has helped us a lot to organise this convention. Also, this destination has a lot of unexplored places which many of our tours operators are not aware of. This convention will help a lot in understanding the destination. This year we have welcomed around 1500 delegates from across the nation and we also have many international delegates. The level of bureaucrats who are inaugurating the event shows the importance and the position of IATO.”