Bhubaneswar, 6th September, 2017: Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), the apex body of travel trade in the country in association with Odisha Tourism announced its 33rd IATO Annual Convention to be held from 7th – 10th September 2017 at Bhubaneswar through a press conference. Dignitaries from the tourism fraternity were present to brief the press which included Dr. Mona Sharma, Principal Secretary, Odisha Tourism, Govt. of Odisha, Dr. Nitin Jawale, Director, Tourism, Dr. Pronab Sarkar, President, IATO, Mr. Rajeev Kohli, Senior Vice President, IATO, Mr. Rajiv Mehra, Chairman of Convention, Mr. Lally Matthews, Co-chairman of Convention, Mr. Gagan Sarangi, Chairman, IATO, Odisha chapter, and Mr. J K Mohanty, Chairman, IATO, Eastern region.
In the realm of tourism, the state has some of the stunning and attractive destinations which are unexplored. Presently, the growth of tourist arrival to the state is about 9% which is more than the global tourist arrival of 4%. IATO is back to this beautiful city after a gap of 9 years. While Odisha has made rapid growth in many sectors, the pace of development in tourism sector has been manifold. Today the image of Odisha is transforming. The recent successful organization of Asian Athletic Championship and Bhubaneswar being the first smart city has given new identity to the state.
More than 12 million people are visiting Odisha every year and the numbers are growing by 9 to 10 percent annually. Ecotourism, MICE tourism, ethnic tourism are gaining momentum. A thousand members of IATO and other stakeholders will be deliberating on issues, which can lead to accelerated growth of tourism sector in the country and the inclusion of Odisha in their business plan will definitely lead to increase in tourist arrivals in our state said principal secretary.
IATO have chosen Bhubaneswar as the host city for the 33rd Annual Convention in 2017 as Hon’ble Minister of Tourism, Government of Odisha, Shri Ashok Chandra Panda had given an open invitation to IATO during the last year convention held at Chennai in 2016. While extending invitation, he mentioned that lot of new developments has taken place and one must experience these new tourist attractions and the developed infrastructure. Hon’ble Minister had also assured full cooperation of the state government and the whole team of Odisha Tourism. This invitation gave real motivation to come back to Odisha with 33rd Annual Convention.
IATO feels honored that the state government values IATO and the role it plays in promoting the state in global and domestic markets through its members participation in overseas Road Shows, travel trade exhibitions, know India seminars and sales trips. In all such promotional activities, Odisha will be focused as a key tourist destination. Based on experience gained through past conventions, IATO members put enchanting packages of the destination and recommend their FTO’s and invite them for Fam Tours to supplement the knowledge of FTO’s with on hand experience.
IATO with a membership of more than 1600 members has taken a big leap in promoting India as a lucrative destination. In this convention about 1000 members are participating. Our members website, promotional documents reflect Odisha’s rich touristic heritage and educate the staff how best to boost the focused destination. So IATO convention helps in decision making process and boost destination in a big way.
Post Convention FAM trips are being organized to take the operators to their area of interest and educate them intensely to promote the destination. This helps them to gather knowledge and get first hand information to sell the product. They also develop contact with suppliers from the state and other trade partners that help to have continuo’s growth of business. Also our Convention is participated by many decision makers from the industry who promote various segment of tourism like MICE, adventure, pilgrimage, beach, wellness, ayurveda, tribal, cuisines, handicrafts, etc,”, and Odisha has all this potential,” said Mr. Pronab Sarkar, President, IATO.
We feel proud to be back here with honor and assurance of good support to IATO. We have time, we are discussing with all trade partners and they are all forth coming. Please be with us and we will deliver. One thing we can promise today that we need you all to make our 33rd Annual Convention a big success, said Mr. Rajeev Kohli, Senior Vice President, IATO.
Mr. Rajiv Mehra, Chairman of Convention also mentioned, the stupendous success of the previous convention has raised the expectations of the members and sponsors. Close to 1000 delegates are expected to attend this 3 day event.
“Concurrently with our convention, there will be India Travel Mart. It is an opportunity for exhibitors to showcase their exciting and diverse range of destinations, conference and Incentive venues. There has been a tremendous response from the states and we have 15 states participating in this year’s convention. This will facilitate discerning buyers from the travel trade and the corporate world to reinforce their choice for business travel, incentives etc”, said Mr. Lally Mathews, Hony Secretary IATO and Co-chairman of the convention.
“On 8th morning IATO in association with Odisha Tourism and other stakeholders are organizing IATO Run for Responsible Tourism at 6 AM, starting from Hotel Mayfair Lagoon”, said Mr. Rajiv Mehra.
We hope the convention will be a mega success and urge IATO and Odisha Tourism to work jointly to promote Odisha more aggressively.