Travel Trade Journal

E. M. Najeeb Senior Vice President IATO and Chairman- IATO Convention


Opportune time is the trigger, so with the borders opening up, policies slated to be conducive, the trade hungry for business, the industry is upbeat. All these factors prompted us to hold the IATO convention this year. Let us be positive, with over 116 crore vaccinatio­n doses, it is time to march ahead with cautious optimism.

Also, India is gearing up, and it is ready to welcome tourists with all SOPs in place, the government is supporting the industry with its policies, the states are looking at seamless travel, the stakeholde­rs are keen on networking and discussing issues with the policymake­rs – the case is thus ripe and a perfect fit to choose “BRAND INDIA - The Road to Recovery”, as our theme for the convention.

The key highlights of the Convention will be: the wellappoin­ted inaugural, quality speakers at the strategic business sessions, meaningful State Presentati­ons, a motivation­al talk, informal networking at the hosted Luncheon and Dinners which address relevant thoughts. Post Tours add the opportunit­y for onsite marketing of destinatio­ns in Gujarat. The IATO Run for the fitness enthusiast and the evening entertainm­ents, all will add up to make the entire package a memorable one.

As all convention­s have their own USPs, this Convention will have a major impact as we are ready to capitalise on the borders opening up and hence timely networking, adapting to strategic ideas emanating from the sessions and presentati­ons will leave our members to view the road map to rejuvenate their business.

Addressing key issues to the government, be it Centre or State, regular follow-ups and one-to-one meetings to fructify our requests are a part and parcel of our regular daily IATO activity. The Convention is to bring our valued members on a strategic platform, listen and discuss with policymake­rs and chalk out a road map that shall synergies business. It is the cherry on the cake.

Speaking about the Govt’s initiative of five lakh free visas by March 2022, the benefits will accrue only when the scheduled flights open up with the target and emerging markets. With the new variants of COVID-19, challenges are still there. IATO has already requested the government to extend the visa facility till March 2023. However, a lot depends on how the COVID Situation pans out and how the industry, the world, responds to our borders opening up with cautious optimism. However, if all goes reasonably well, we see a major fightback in 2022-23.

Presently, with inbound tourism on halt, I think, Domestic Tourism paves the way to tell the world that if Indians can travel within India safely, then why not the global tourist traffic. It has opened up new destinatio­ns, given us a new mindset of a discerning traveller and has reinforced that all SOPs are in place with respect to air travel, surface transport, hotels and sightseein­g. The policymake­rs have viewed these and have given the needed momentum to tourism. What better scope can one ask for?

Domestic tourism does have the potential to be a gamechange­r in the faster recovery of Indian tourism and it will pave the way for MICE, Inbound, Wedding and Adventure tourism. The destinatio­ns, the stakeholde­rs, both private and government, will be energised and the latter will then be prompted to address conducive policy measures that shall catalyse tourism.

On the last note, I request to the media to carry the true positive news that is emanating from all corners with respect to vaccinatio­ns, borders opening up, facilitati­on by states, industry ready to welcome tourists with all SOPs in place so that we embark on a factual positive image building of Incredible India.

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