IATO brings Odisha tourism to the fore

In an ef­fort to equip its mem­bers to face the con­stant flow of chal­lenges, the In­dian As­so­ci­a­tion of Tour Op­er­a­tors (IATO) started a dis­cus­sion to ini­ti­ate a new thought process through its 33rd an­nual con­ven­tion in Bhubaneswar, from Sept 7-9.

Travel Talk - India - - IATOTALK - HAZEL JAIN FROM BHUBANESWAR

In­dia sells it­self, they said. But such state­ments are now re­garded as fool­ish­ness. In such a com­pet­i­tive en­vi­ron­ment, where ev­ery des­ti­na­tion is vy­ing for the trav­eller’s at­ten­tion and his cur­rency, it would be fool­hardy to con­tinue on the course we set for our­selves a decade ago. To help the in­bound fraternity over­come this in­er­tia, the In­dian As­so­ci­a­tion of Tour Op­er­a­tors (IATO) played out a well-thought plan in the guide of its 33rd an­nual con­ven­tion held in Bhubaneswar from Septem­ber 7-9, 2017.

The speak­ers and the dis­cus­sions sparked a new thought process in the au­di­ence and en­cour­aged it to think in­no­va­tively. In a big

show of en­cour­age­ment to the trade, the new Min­is­ter of State (I/C) for Tourism, Gov­ern­ment of In­dia, K.J.

Alphons, made his first of­fi­cial ap­pear­ance at the in­au­gu­ra­tion and gave an em­pow­er­ing speech that as­sured the au­di­ence of his sup­port. Also on the stage were Tourism Sec­re­tary Rashmi Verma, her coun­ter­part from the Odisha Gov­ern­ment Dr. Mona

Sharma, as well as Ashok

Chan­dra Panda, Min­is­ter of State (I/C) Tourism & Cul­ture, Gov­ern­ment of Odisha. The Chief Guest of the event was Odisha Chief Min­is­ter, Naveen Pat­naik.

Ses­sions ga­lore

Set­ting the tone of the Con­ven­tion was a dis­cus­sion on ‘Ethics and Busi­ness’ which un­der­lined the im­por­tance of pro­fes­sion­al­ism in the in­dus­try. This was fol­lowed by a ses­sion on why we need to in­vest in peo­ple in or­der to sus­tain­ably grow the busi­ness. The next day brought with it some more food for thought. Keep­ing with the theme of the con­ven­tion, this ses­sion brain­stormed on why we should keep chang­ing our brand­ing and po­si­tion­ing to re­main rel­e­vant as a des­ti­na­tion.

Recog­nis­ing the ef­forts put in by the host state was a ses­sion high­light­ing the pos­i­tive as­pects of Odisha and the new ini­tia­tives un­der­taken to ac­cen­tu­ate its tourism of­fer­ings. Of course, a des­ti­na­tion can gain more pop­u­lar­ity if the air con­nec­tiv­ity is con­ve­nient and the fol­low­ing ses­sion high­lighted the UDAN re­gional con­nec­tiv­ity scheme that has opened up a vista of op­por­tu­ni­ties for In­dian air­lines.

The ‘GST Mas­ter­class’ the fol­low­ing day saw the house packed to the rafters as ex­pected, and an en­tire hour on how agents can lever­age so­cial me­dia, es­pe­cially Facebook, for fur­ther­ing their busi­ness saw a vol­ley of ques­tions fly­ing from the au­di­ence to the stage. The con­ven­tion left its au­di­ence with thought­pro­vok­ing ideas and ques­tions with its ses­sion on new busi­ness ideas where dy­namic pan­elists shared their per­spec­tive. Last but the not the least, a standup show helped the mem­bers un­wind after two whole days of brain­storm­ing and in­tro­spec­tion.

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