Odisha to the fore @ con­ven­tion

At its an­nual con­ven­tion in Bhubaneswar, the In­dian As­so­ci­a­tion of Tour Op­er­a­tors (IATO) plans to show­case de­vel­op­ment un­der­taken by Odisha to its mem­bers and lever­age in­bound tourism to the state.

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The an­nual con­ven­tion will be held at Ho­tel May­fair Con­ven­tion, Bhubaneswar, where par­tic­i­pa­tion of more than 1200 del­e­gates is ex­pected. Pronab Sarkar, Pres­i­dent, IATO, says, “Bhubaneswar has made land­mark changes in its in­fras­truc­ture de­vel­op­ment, added new tourism prod­ucts and has new cir­cuits to of­fer to tourists. There is a lot of change vis­i­ble in the state since the time we had our last con­ven­tion in Bhubaneswar in 2008.”

Ashok Chan­dra Panda, Min­is­ter of Tourism and Cul­ture (I/C), Govern­ment of Odisha, has ex­tended full sup­port to the as­so­ci­a­tion for the con­ven­tion. Panda says, “We shall of­fer all sup­port to IATO to make their con­ven­tion a suc­cess and hope to show­case the state’s var­i­ous tourism cir­cuits to the del­e­gates through the post-fa­mil­iari­sa­tion tours. We have iden­ti­fied tourism as a sec­tor where growth can be dou­bled. We have 356 tourist sites in the state and have also eased the re­stric­tions to visit the tribal ar­eas. With im­prove­ment in the law and or­der sit­u­a­tion cou­pled with the tourism pol­icy, we hope to grow this sec­tor man­i­folds and in­crease foot­fall from do­mes­tic and in­bound tourists.”

Ra­jiv Mehra, Vice Pres­i­dent, IATO and Chair­man, IATO Con­ven­tion, elab­o­rated that the theme for this year’s con­ven­tion is ‘In­dia Touris­mTime to rein­vent our­selves,’ which will de­lib­er­ate on the ways the in­dus­try has been run­ning its busi­nesses. “The time has come to con­sider the pos­si­bil­i­ties to rein­vent our­selves and start in­vest­ing in a new fu­ture. Just as es­tab­lished prod­ucts and brands need up­dat­ing to stay alive, you pe­ri­od­i­cally need to re­fresh or rein­vent your­self,” he says.

Elab­o­rat­ing on the choice of lo­ca­tion for the con­ven­tion, Lally Mathews, Hon­orary Sec­re­tary, IATO and Co-Chair­man of IATO Con­ven­tion, says, “Odisha of­fers ev­ery­thing, be it beaches, pil­grim­age, hill sta­tion, wildlife, shop­ping, Ayurveda, med­i­cal tourism, etc. Con­cur­rently with our con­ven­tion, there will be an In­dia Travel Mart which is an op­por­tu­nity for ex­hibitors to show­case ex­cit­ing and di­verse range of des­ti­na­tions and con­fer­ence venues.”

Ashok Chan­dra Panda Min­is­ter of Tourism and Cul­ture (I/C) Govern­ment of Odisha

Pronab Sarkar Pres­i­dent IATO

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