Travel Trade Journal

Ravi Gusain Vice President- IATO


We need the motivation to move ahead to seek possibilit­ies for running our businesses. COVID-19 is still hovering around, but this is the time we all should adopt a cautious approach for new beginnings.

So, after much deliberati­ons within the executive committee, our members and the Gujarat government we decided to organise IATO’s 36th convention in Gandhinaga­r. Our convention theme is based on the present scenario of how we can bring up Brand India after this devastatin­g 20 months. We want our members to join in numbers because this will be a different convention as compared to previous years; we are the lucky ones to be alive today, but our years of hard work in building our businesses got a huge dent due to the pandemic. We require more hand-holding, encouragem­ent and sharing ideas for future strategies, and the IATO convention will be an ideal platform to restart. We are inviting some prominent speakers to our business sessions, which will help delegates to

enhance their knowledge base.

Fortunatel­y, after opening up Indian borders for tourists, our members rejoice with enquiries which will be a morale booster for them. FTOs were happy with the announceme­nt of 5 Lakh free tourists visas as it gave a positive signal in the market. We still have to go through lots of hurdles and checks for operating tourists, but we are hopeful to cross over all of them one by one.

It will probably take a year or two to come back to pre-COVID levels in terms of foreign tourist arrivals in India. Although with a proactive approach from the government of India and stakeholde­rs, it can be achieved earlier provided people come out of pandemic syndrome. IATO has been in regular touch with the MoT and various other ministries to be able to survive as an industry in the past 20 months and we are somehow glad that a few of our requests and demands were considered positively by the government.

We understand saving life was a priority for the government, but now when things are improving; we are expecting intense support from them to rebuild tourism businesses. We are having regular meetings with MOT officials for resumption of overseas promotions, both digital as well physical and satisfied so far with their planning. However, we will be able to quantify the progress after it begins. So, at the IATO convention, our focus will be to brainstorm all these possibilit­ies with the government officials along with stakeholde­rs.

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