The 28th Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) annual convention which was held from 30 August – 2 September at The Trident Mumbai saw participation from 700 delegates. The two day convention under the theme – ‘Moving Forward in Challenging Times – Together’ highlighted various issues affecting the growth of inbound tourism in India.
A clear take away at the convention was that some radical measures will have to be taken if the task set out by Tourism Minster Subodh Kant Sahai to achieve 12 million foreign arrivals by the end of 12th five year plan. One of the major recommendations made at the convention was that the Market Development Assistance (MDA) scheme be improvised so that agents and operators can get full benefit from it.
The convention addressed the need for Visa on Arrival scheme be extended to more countries, while it also talked about lifting the ban on tiger tourism. It was observed that tiger population increased 25% in areas where tourism movement occurred.
Lastly, the convention also highlighted the need to explore Maharashtra’s potential to the fullest with emphasis on improving relationship between agents and hoteliers. Maharashtra’s Governor K Sankarnarayanan asked the industry to introduce more products for the youth, adventure and budget travellers, so that the task of creating more jobs for poverty alleviation can be achieved.
Five things highlighted at the convention
– Upgrade Market Development Assistance scheme
– More Convention Space for MICE segment in India
– Lift ban on Tiger Tourism
– Explore Maharashtra’s potential to the fullest, introduce new products
– Visa on Arrival for more countries