Rajiv Mehra, President of the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), has announced that the 40th IATO Annual Convention will take place in Puri, Odisha in September 2025. According to Mehra, the proposal to hold the convention in Puri was submitted and accepted by the Odisha Government’s Tourism Department. This will be IATO’s third Annual Convention in Odisha, following the 24th Annual Convention in Bhubaneswar in 2008 and the 33rd IATO Annual Convention in 2017.
The 33rd IATO Annual Convention held in 2017 at the Mayfair Convention Centre, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, was then inaugurated by the Chief Minister of Odisha, Naveen Patnaik. The event was a great success and was attended by about 900 delegates from all over the country. Mehra expects that Puri will be an attractive destination for IATO members, and the convention is expected to be attended by around 1,000 delegates.
Mehra also expressed his gratitude to Aswini Kumar Patra, Tourism Minister of Odisha, and Odisha Tourism for accepting IATO’s proposal.
The venue for the 39th IATO Annual Convention is also being finalised and will be announced soon.
Meanwhile, the stage is set for the association’s 38th Convention, which is taking place in Chhatrapati Sambhaji Nagar (Formerly called Aurangabad) from September 29 – October 2.
According to Rajnish Kaistha, Senior Vice President, IATO, this year’s convention is significant and will put IATO in the spotlight in a small town. “The Ajanta and Ellora caves, which are India’s first two UNESCO heritage sites since 1983, will be the backdrop of the convention. The Chief Minister, Eknath Shinde, Deputy Dy Chief Ministers Devendra Fdvanis, and Ajit Pawar will be there. Even the leader of opposition, Amandas Danve, is working towards the promotion of tourism in Chhatrapati Sambhaji Nagar. This positive willingness of PPP mode will help take tourism in Chhatrapati Sambhaji Nagar to new heights,” he said. Many IATO members have already registered, and he said IATO is expecting around 1,000 attendees “Familiarisation tours will be organized for the members to showcase the best of Chhatrapati Sambhaji Nagar and its surroundings. This will enable them to market these sites to their FTOs and guests abroad,” he added.
According to Kaistha, the city needs more air connectivity to attract more tourists, and the airport there is geared to take 3 to 4 times more flights. “Our convention will cover important sessions that will focus on synergy with state governments, hotels, cruises, and digital knowledge for our members. We will also focus on sustainability, both by reducing carbon footprints and finding ways to sustain tourism post-Covid,” he mentioned in a conversation with ETTravelWorld.
The convention will be a game-changer for the region as it will help upgrade the infrastructure and generate employment opportunities in the future.