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Wednesday, 19 June, 2019, 18 : 02 PM [IST]

‘We strongly believe that IATO member is a reliable partner’

The Western India Chapter of the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), by organising a convocation programme in Nasik, wanted to ensure that industry players generate healthy business from Tier-II cities as well. Besides benefitting the local agents, IATO members also got acquainted with the varied tourism products, so it was a win-win situation, said Vasuki K. Sundaram, Chairman, Maharashtra Chapter, IATO while talking to Samruddhi Chitnis.

Q What was the objective of IATO Western Chapter India meeting? Also, why was Nasik selected as a destination for this convocation?
The meeting was organised for networking and engagement of members adding value to their membership with IATO. The aim was to accelerate the bonding of IATO members as a team. Nasik as a destination had been given special emphasis mainly because of its inclusion in the Ramayan circuit which is iconic. Conducting convocation in Nasik created business opportunities for local agents, and furthermore IATO members got acknowledged with the products of the city, so it was a win-win situation. Coin museums, smaller vineyards were the other products which could cater to smaller groups interested in wine tours, educational tours, etc. The symbolic Ganga Yatra along with Panchvati could serve travellers seeking spiritual experiences.

Q With development of new policies and budgets followed by the recent LS elections 2019, what kind of presentations will IATO make to the government?
Vinita Vaid Singal, Secretary, Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Government of Maharashtra, seems to be quite proactive with the kind of strategies and plans she has chalked out for the Maharashtra circuit. Firstly, we try to solve our problems at the Centre level by assisting where ever required. The government and tourism industry have to co-exist as they complement each other. Tour operators are mediators to attract national as well as international tourists showcasing the products through exhibitions and attract international tourists and design attractive packages. IATO will support the government wherever it is viable and will synchronize for promoting tourism.

Q How does IATO plan to induct new members?
IATO is very particular about its membership. We do not induct members just for the sake of increasing numbers. One has to qualify to certain norms to be a part of IATO as we strongly believe that our members are reliable partners. So we do our checks and verifications before selecting the members.

“The government and tourism industry have to co-exist as they complement each other. Tour operators are mediators to attract national as well as international tourists, showcasing the products through exhibitions and designing attractive tour packages. IATO will support the government wherever it is viable and will synchronise with them for promoting tourism ”




Q What plans have been chalked out this year?
As far as, Maharashtra is concerned we are planning to consider each point for e.g. we have many heritage sites in Mumbai itself to showcase. But there exist certain logistics and parking limitations and other issues. These are pure ground realities and they need to be addressed. We have put this across ample times but we will again reiterate our points so its gets to the right person.

Q What are your thoughts on promoting the undiscovered and untouched ASI monuments?
At pan India level you can’t do it, but at the Centre level it will be possible. for e.g. Nasik. travel agents can create circuits and packages around undiscovered treasures of this city. IATO can promote these circuits across the globe. I feel this is a more practical approach of working collectively. This is one way we can retain the rural and urban populations. Educating travellers about the tourist spots and training people who are presenting the products right from the tour operators, drivers, guides is also a must do for balancing the tourism industry.

samruddhi.chitnis@saffronsynergies.in
 
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