The 32nd annual convention of the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) was held in Chennai, capital of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, with much pomp and show, reflecting the rich cultural heritage of the southern state. Chief Minister Jayalalitha gave all support to the meeting, held under the theme “Expectations and Realities – Bridging the Gap.”
IATO President Pronab Sarkar and Senior Vice President Rajeev Kohli, who was the Convention Chairman, spoke of bottlenecks impacting the tourism industry. Sarkar called for Tamil Nadu to have convention centers under the public-private partnership (PPP) model in Chennai, Madurai, Coimbotore, and Trichy, so that the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE) business can be promoted.
He also highlighted the problem of lack of language guides and that of high taxes on tourist transport cars, as well as no vehicle permits for luxury cars and coaches. Another cause for concern are the inadequate parking facilities at temples and monuments.