Indian Association of Tour Operators’ (IATO) Madhya Pradesh chapter and Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board (MPTB) recently organized a day-long workshop in Bhopal aimed at putting the state in a greater tourism spotlight. The meet discussed ways to increase foreign tourists, explore new destinations and circuits as well as look at opportunities to collaborate with airlines & hotels with support from IATO and its members. The workshop was also aimed at boosting IATO’s footprint in the region.
Chief Guest Sheo Shekhar Shukla, Principal Secretary – Tourism and Managing Director of MPTB spoke on forging new relationship and collaboration, investment opportunities in tourism infrastructure, connectivity, hub and spoke model in tourism, the three world heritage sites of Sanchi, Bhimbetka and Khajuraho, among others. He also informed that Gwalior will be declared as the city of music.
While stressing the need to forge new partnerships with hotels and airlines Shukla said that there is need to create the critical mass to catapult Madhya Pradesh to the next level as a MICE and Wedding destination – on both domestic and international tourism landscape. He said that there is a need to create an ecosystem in the state for inbound travel wherein there are no less than 50 strong tour operators based out of Madhya Pradesh and Rural Tourism as an USP for Madhya Pradesh.
Speaking on the occasion, IATO President, Rajiv Mehra, also pointed that Madhya Pradesh, besides its facets like wildlife tourism, also needs to be promoted for Culture Tourism. He mentioned that IATO has taken connectivity as a thrust area and Indigo will operate in Khajuraho – Varanasi Sector which will be a big boost to tourism in Madhya Pradesh. IATO is pursuing with Indigo and Air India for last mile connectivity for the tourist destinations of Madhya Pradesh.
Furthermore, Mehra informed about Mahendra Pratap Singh being appointed as the Chairman IATO Madhya Pradesh Chapter. Mehra also invited the delegates to 38th IATO Annual Convention, scheduled on Sep 29 – Oct 2 at Aurangabad in Maharashtra. The event was attended by about 125 tourism professionals from MP and Chhattisgarh, senior officials of MP Tourism as well Office Bearers and EC members of IATO’s central and state committees.