The 36th edition of the annual IATO Convention kicked off at the Gujarat capital Gandhinagar. The three-day (December 16-18) event was inaugurated by the Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendrabhai Patel at the state’s capital now iconic The Leela Gandhinagar in the presence of over hundreds of tour operators from across the state. The event was to take place in September but was delayed because of f Covid-19 pandemic. IATO didn’t organise the convention last year because of the pandemic.
IATO also conferred its annual 2021 ‘Hall of Fame’ award to industry veterans Dr. Subhash Goyal, Chairman of STIC Travel Group and Mahender Singh Vaghela, popularly known as Mike Vaghela, a tourism industry stalwart from Gujarat and former Chairman, IATO Gujarat Chapter.
Hailing the Convention as the harbinger of better days ahead in view of continuing pandemic uncertainties, Rajiv Mehra, President of IATO, said, “The 2021 IATO convention has been themed ‘Brand India – The Road to Recovery.’ The theme of the convention has been chosen keeping in mind the present crisis the inbound tourism industry is facing. The planned session will, over the course of two days, deliberate as to how we can recover from the pandemic crisis and rebuild inbound tourism and create confidence among foreign tourists to travel to India, rebuild our tourism and regenerate employment.”
Welcoming IATO delegates to the state, Chief Minister Patel said that Gujarat is a unique destination that offers something for every kind of tourist. He also said that IATO will have a major role to play in rebuilding post-pandemic tourism. The state Chief Minister further assured of every help in supporting IATO’s effort and initiative in growing India and Gujarat’s tourism profile on the world map.
“Gujarat is blessed with countless natural resources, ranging from Ocean to the wildlife, culture, heritage, beaches, ancient civilization and more. We will support your various initiatives for attracting more inbound tourists in order to boost the economy of the state and its tourism entrepreneurs and generate employment opportunities here. Our members will be visiting different parts of Gujarat during the post-Convention tours organised after the convention that will help them promote Gujarat better,” he added.