TravelTravel and Tourism

“IATO has worked for the benefit of it’s members”.

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IATO has constantly worked for it’s members all through the pandemic and beyond. The association took up critical issues with authorities for benefit of members. Rajiv Mehra, president – IAT0 speaks about the way forward. Interview with Reema Lokesh – founder & editor Reemarkabl.

1. In the new world order, what are the new features added to the convention post the pandemic?

The Theme of the Convention is INBOUND TOURISM – WHAT LIES AHEAD is the key and new feature.

Secondly the business sessions aim to address the key facets of Inbound Tourism – the policies, infrastructure, connectivity, investment, marketing and promotion overseas, and the synergy between hoteliers and tour operators in promoting Inbound.

2. As President – IATO what were the highlights of the association during the past year.

The challenges facing the tour operators were the ISSUES TAKEN UP BY IATO

i. Physical road shows in target countries under the leadership of Ministry of Tourism. Government

ii. Financial support under Marketing Development Assistance Scheme of the Ministry of Tourism,

iii. To re-store e-Visa from countries UK, Canada, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait etc.

iv. Restoration of Tourist/e-Tourist Visa for Foreign Tourists and to allow entry of foreign tourists through land borders of Nepal and Bhutan for the revival of Buddhist Tourism.

v. In new Foreign Trade Policy, IATO recommended that:

  • The benefit of SEIS scheme should be continued for the tour operators and travel agencies for the next 5 years.
  • In case if SEIS is not going to be continued, an alternative incentive scheme should be introduced.

vi. Cascading effect of GST on Tour Operators Services.

vii. Tourism industry to be treated as deemed exporter at par with IT Industry under export of service.

IATO MAJOR ACHIEVEMENTS on its persistent efforts:

i. IATO President was selected as domain expert on the subject related to Promotion of Indian Tourism in Overseas Markets – Role of Overseas Tourist Offices and Indian Embassies for detailed examination by the Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture.,

ii. On our request, Government of India appointed 20 Nodal officers for Tourism at our Missions abroad.

iii. Taj Hotels Promo code for discounted rates for IATO Members

iv. IATO was aggressively following up with the Government to restore Tourist/e-Tourist for Foreign Tourists including 5 years and 10 years Visas directly with MHA and through Ministry of Tourism. Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt. of India issued orders on 16th March for restoration of Tourist/e-Tourist Visa of all kind with immediate effect. IATO was writing to the Government to allow entry through Land borders of Nepal and Bhutan. Apart from this it was also writing that e-Tourist Visa for countries like UK, Canada and other countries to be revived.

v. Withdrawal of Tax Collection of Source (TCS) on sale of overseas tour packages for foreign tourists who book tour through tour operators located in India.

vi. The Union Government accepted IATO’s recommendations on removal of GST on services provided outside India as well as the GST for ferry service hired for transport of passenger

3. What is the main highlight of the IATO convention 2022?

The highlight is the Media Meeting, Interaction with our State Chapter Heads and the presence of the CM of Uttar Pradesh for the inaugural session.

4. What is the primary thought behind the theme and it’s focal point.

The primary thought is the recovery for Inbound Tourism which has suffered during the Pandemic.

5. Why Lucknow as a convention destination?

Uttar Pradesh is the host state and Lucknow is the capital city, plus it is a key city with respect to the presence policy makers and of course Connectivity. 

6.  What are the future milestones?

The recovery of Inbound Tourism and interaction with Policymakers to resolve the key issues being faced by our valued members.

 7.  Your views on the Memorandum of Association.

We have redrafted our Memorandum of Association after taking inputs from our members and getting it ratified by our members in two strategic interactive meetings besides taking a full proof legal view on the MOA.

About author
a senior journalist, clarity coach, classical dancer, panel moderator and an eternal optimist.
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