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.
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.
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.