IATO hopes to achieve 1/3rd of pre-Covid business by March 2023
The Maharashtra Chapter of the IATO (Indian Association of Tour Operators) organised a meeting for its members in Mumbai recently. Rajiv Mehra, President, IATO, Ravi Gosain, Chairman, 37th IATO Convention, Jitendra Kejriwal, Chairman, IATO Maharashtra and Dadra, Nagar Haveli & Daman Chapter, and other dignitaries were present in the meeting.
Speaking to TravelBiz Monitor on the sidelines of the meeting, Mehra said that he is optimistic that by March 2023 they could achieve 1/3rd of the pre-Covid business. “Business has started trickling in, and I sincerely hope that we could achieve 1/3rd of the pre-Covid business by March next year,” said an optimistic Mehra.
Talking about visa issues, he said that the UK visa issue will be resolved very soon. “But the visa problem with Canada will persist for some more time,” pointed out Mehra. He also said that they are losing business because China has still kept its borders closed, and Japan is partially opened. When asked which are the markets they are banking on? Mehra replied, “USA, South Africa, Europe are picking up along with the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand.”
According to him, to encourage inbound traffic, the government must restore promotional activities in the overseas markes. “The promotion in the form of roadshows, advertisements in print and electronic media,” he said. Mehra also said that the restoration of the MDA (Marketing Development Assistance) scheme is the need of the hour.
IATO is organising its 37th Annual Convention in Lucknow from December 16-19. Gosain said that around 900-1000 delegates are expected to participate in the event. He also said that the convention will witness interesting knowledge sessions which will help members a lot. “I will ensure that the knowledge sessions are truly interactive and our members gain knowledge,” he said. The association is also planning to bring senior bureaucrats from the states which are doing well on the tourism front. “We are sincerely trying tourism secretaries of the states that are doing well on the tourism front like Kerala, Rajasthan, Goa, Maharashtra, etc. to participate in our convention,” said Gosain.
Kejriwal said that his priority is to bring destinations like Nashik, Aurangabad of Maharashtra in the limelight. “Nashik and Aurangabad have immense potential to grow as tourism destinations but are not promoted effectively. Besides these, there are other places of Maharashtra which are also not marketed well. We are in touch with MTDC and the director of tourism of the state and they are also extending help,” said Kejriwal. According to Kejriwal, the next convention of IATO will take place in Aurangabad. “Our 38th convention will take place in Aurangabad next year which will help us to promote the place as a tourism destination in a big way. We are also planning fam trips for the members of our Maharashtra Chapter so that they become familiar with lesser known destinations in the state,” said Kejriwal.
Talking about the membership drive, he said that currently the Maharashtra Chapter has 148 members. “The figure will reach 200 by the end of the year,” said a confident Kejriwal.