3-day IATO convention in Vizag from Thursday

Ch.R.S Sarma Visakhapatnam | Updated on September 05, 2018 Published on September 05, 2018

Target of 20 m foreign tourists set for 2020


The three-day annual convention of the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) begins here at a private hotel on Thursday afternoon with the theme, "20 million foreign tourists by 2020". At present, India draws roughly 11 million foreign tourists per annum.

On the eve of the thirty-fourth convention, Pronab Sarkar, the president of the association, said here on Wednesday that Vizag had been chosen as the venue for this year's convention "as we are hugely encouraged by the response of Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, who wants to give a big boost to the sector in the new AP, after bifurcation. The sector generates employment on large scale and the CM wants us to promote the State in a big way."

He said that already many tour operators, members of the IATO, had already toured the State to familiarise themselves with the potential and issues relating to the sector. "There is a need to attract more foreign tourists to Andhra Pradesh and we will apprise the CM of what needs to be done to achieve the objective," he said.

Tourism infra

In general, he said, the tourism infrastructure needed to be strengthened in the country and there was also a need for improving air connectivity to many places and to have more skilled tourist guides. There was also a need for more four-star and five-star hotels. "The new capital, Amaravati, Visakhapatnam and Tirupati are the major tourist centres in the State," he said, adding that the picturesque Araku valley in Visakhapatnam district is a big draw.

Himanshu Shukla, the Managing Director of AP Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC), spoke at length about the steps being taken by the State Government to promote tourism and improve infrastructure. He said the private sector would be involved in a big way in the tourism sector. The APTDC and the State Government would be pro-active in responding to the needs of the tour operators promptly.

P. Basanth Kumar, the vice-chairman of the Visakhapatnam Urban Development Authority (VUDA), spoke about the tourism projects and facilities in the Visakhapatnam city and district and the steps being taken to promote tourism.

Rajiv Mehra, the chairman of the convention, said roughly 1,000 delegates may attend the convention. Earlier, IATO conventions were held in the united AP twice, the last one in Hyderabad 15 years ago, but "this is the first convention after bifurcation and it will certainly give a big boost to tourism in the new AP."

Published on September 05, 2018
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