An­nual con­ven­tions & their rel­e­vance

An­nual con­ven­tions of lead­ing travel as­so­ci­a­tions like TAAI, IATO, FHRAI, ADTOI, are an in­te­gral part of the In­dian travel busi­ness diary. TRAVTALK finds out from some of the ma­jor stake­hold­ers of the in­dus­try whether these con­ven­tions hold any rel­e­vance


Con­ven­tions pull their weight and are very use­ful if one treats them as se­ri­ous busi­ness ac­tiv­i­ties, and not hol­i­days. OTOAI con­ven­tions have had sev­eral agen­das that in­cluded show­cas­ing prod­ucts; be­ing at places away from one’s reg­u­lar of­fices to dis­cuss top­ics that are im­pact­ing the in­dus­try; and also look­ing at the fu­ture. OTOAI mem­bers be­ing out­bound tour op­er­a­tors, fo­cus on B2B ses­sions where they get to di­rectly in­ter­act with their ser­vice providers. The busi­ness con­tent apart, the leisure ac­tiv­i­ties also high­light In­dia’s cul­ture. Thus, con­ven­tions be­come an ex­cel­lent pro­mo­tional tool.

The con­ven­tion, ex­hi­bi­tion and meet­ing in­dus­try has in­creased in size and im­por­tance due to sev­eral rea­sons. A sub­stan­tial amount of rev­enues gen­er­ated from global travel and tourism in­dus­try sig­nals about the in­creased level of rev­enues gen­er­ated from con­ven­tions, ex­hi­bi­tions and meet­ings in­dus­try. Con­ven­tions pro­vide a com­mon plat­form for learn­ing, net­work­ing, aware­ness. They are unique show­cas­ing the best of the re­gion – po­ten­tial for the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try with of­fer­ings of the cul­ture, her­itage and cus­toms of the host state.

Con­ven­tions have great rel­e­vance to main­tain sus­tain­able growth of the tourism in­dus­try in gen­eral. These help cre­ate and cap­ture in­ter­est and at­ten­tion; re­veal what’s new in the in­dus­try; cover a range of top­ics that de­mand mem­bers’ re­spon­sive at­ten­tion; pro­vide a com­mon plat­form for de­bate and ex­change of ideas; and spec­ify the out­come of the ex­er­cise through rec­om­men­da­tions. For 30 years, the IATO An­nual Con­ven­tion has helped to set tourism de­vel­op­ment on a path that is both com­pet­i­tive and re­spon­si­ble, tak­ing con­sid­er­a­tion of new chal­lenges. IATO’s achieve­ments through its an­nual con­ven­tions is wor­thy of be­ing chron­i­cled in a book.

An­nual con­ven­tions are ideal for net­work­ing; ex­chang­ing ideas and views; al­low­ing peo­ple to im­bibe best prac­tices and knowl­edge through ses­sions, if they’re of sub­stance. Be­ing able to meet and net­work un­der one roof is valu­able. Con­ven­tions also al­low for govern­ment par­tic­i­pa­tion, which ben­e­fits the in­dus­try. The con­ven­tions have grown in stature but need to stay fo­cused and be more cost and time­ef­fec­tive. How­ever, there’s no gain in or­gan­is­ing con­ven­tions in far flung coun­tries, where at­ten­dance is lim­ited and it’s more of a jam­boree for a few!

As­so­ci­a­tions’ an­nual con­ven­tions are cer­tainly rel­e­vant to­day, al­though chang­ing times, evolv­ing mar­kets, and the grow­ing num­ber of as­so­ci­a­tions in In­dia have some­what re­duced the promi­nence of con­ven­tions, com­pared to the 90’s and be­fore. To­day, each as­so­ci­a­tion holds its own con­ven­tion, which may di­lute their over­all PR ef­fect. Also, the num­ber of travel trade ex­hi­bi­tions that have come up to en­cour­age buyer-seller meets, have di­luted con­ven­tions’ role. TAAI con­ven­tions con­tinue to be rel­e­vant and use­ful, and fo­cus on busi­ness ses­sions pro­mot­ing des­ti­na­tions. TAAI’s unique ad­van­tage is the di­ver­sity of its mem­bers who cham­pion sev­eral ver­ti­cals that give im­mense net­work­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Travel as­so­ci­a­tions are and will al­ways be an in­te­gral part of the tourism in­dus­try. They serve as a use­ful com­mu­ni­ca­tion plat­form to con­nect with a di­verse data­base of travel agents, and con­vey key mes­sages to the trade. Re­puted as­so­ci­a­tions set a qual­i­ta­tive bench­mark. We be­lieve that the next step for these as­so­ci­a­tions would be to evolve in align­ment with chang­ing trends, and with a well-de­fined seg­men­ta­tion tar­get­ing spe­cific gen­res of trav­ellers, like for in­stance, Vir­tu­oso in the USA.

Shee­tal Wad­hwa Mun­shaw Di­rec­tor-In­dia Atout France

Guldeep Singh Sahni In­dia Travel Award win­ner & Pres­i­dent, OTOAI

Ratna Chadha Chief Ex­ec­u­tive TIRUN Travel Mar­ket­ing

K. Syama Raju Pres­i­dent FHRAI

Pronab Sarkar Pres­i­dent IATO

Su­nil Ku­mar Pres­i­dent, TAAI

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