Tourism meet back in state

Tour operators meet culture and tourism minister Ashok Chandra Panda (extreme left) in Bhubaneswar. Picture by Ashwinee Pati

Bhubaneswar, Aug. 9: The Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), the national apex body of tour operators in the country, will host its annual convention here this year.

The convention will go on for three days starting September. A meeting was held between tourism minister Ashok Panda and association president Pranab Sarkar.

The association has been holding its annual convention since 1983 in various cities in India to showcase new and emerging destinations to its members.

The event is dedicated to bringing together hundreds of travel experts from all over India to learn, share and network over business sessions related to the latest trends and developments in the travel and tourism sector.

The association will hold the convention in the state after a gap of eight years.

“During our last convention held in September 2016, the (Odisha tourism) minister had mentioned that a lot of developments had taken place in Odisha in the tourism sector. Following full assurance from the state government, we decided to come back here,” said Pronab Sarkar, president of the IATO.

“Delegates will develop contacts with suppliers and other trade partners to grow their business. The convention will witness participation from investors and tourism consultants with whom the state government can develop contact and workout mutually beneficial schemes,” he added

A sand sculpture by Sudarshan Pattnaik will be an attraction at the event apart from cultural programme by popular artistes such as Aruna Mohanty every evening. Apart from the business sessions, there will be competitions on marketing innovations and other events related to tourism.

“With so many state tourism departments attending the convention, it will be an opportunity for them to share ideas and learn from each other. One can also get feedback from tour operators,” said tourism minister Ashok Panda.