In order to highlight the importance of tourism in India and its significance for the growth of economy, the 31st Annual Convention of the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), aims to focus on job creation, leading to better economic growth, with the help of tourism in India. According to Subhash Goyal, president, IATO, “With major tourism potential of India and IATO being one of apex organisations of the country and since a major amount of the foreign earnings are done by our members, therefore, it is our responsibility to create more awareness and help market the Indian states and provide a platform for better interaction between the states and the tour operators.” The Convention will be held from August 20-23, 2015, at The Grand Bhagwati convention hall in Indore, Madhya Pradesh (MP), with the inaugural ceremony taking place at 4pm on August 20. The venue for the convention was finalised after much debate and was chosen over Tamil Nadu and Kashmir, keeping in mind the safety and comfort of the delegates.
Hoping to have over 1500 registrations, Goyal is optimistic about the ministerial attendees also and informed that Dr. Mahesh Sharma, minister of state for tourism and culture and civil aviation; Shivraj Singh Chouhan, CM, Madhya Pradesh Government; Surendra Patwa, tourism minister, MP Government; Ashwani Lohani, MD, MP Tourism along with with several other Rajya Sabha members will be present at the Convention. “In fact, the CM of Madhya Pradesh has assured us that he would personally invite and try to get the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, to the convention,” he added.
Talking about the issues faced by the tour operators, which will be highlighted during the convention, Goyal stated, “The tour operators should be a par with physical exporters in terms of exemption from service tax and therefore one of the sessions will be about the implications of the taxation policy.” He also informed that other sessions would focus on social media marketing and technological advancements beneficial to the tour operators.
Highlighting the importance of the convention, Goyal believes that it provides a networking platform to IATO members but also the Post-Conference excursions will help the tour operators in discovering and understanding the region better. “This time we will give the members option to visit various MP areas like Sachi, Jabalpur, Mahakaleshwar Jyotirling Temple, Chitrakoot, Panna etc.” he added.
Pronab Sarkar, secretary, IATO, will be the chairman of the convention, while Ravi Gosain, joint secretary, IATO, and Sanjeev Joshi, executive committee member, IATO, will be the co-chairman.