36th Annual IATO Convention abruptly called off
There is a feeling of gloom and sadness in the travel industry as the upcoming 37th annual convention of the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IAT0) has been called off. The event was to be held in Bangalore, India, from September 15-18, 2022, with a good number of delegates anticipated to attend.
IATO President Rajiv Mehra and others have expressed disappointment with the Karnataka Tourism Government Department backing out from supporting the convention after agreeing to host and help in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, at the 36th convention last year in the presence of the Hon. Chief Minister of Gujarat and over 750 delegates.
This development is very unfortunate which IATO never expected from the Department of Tourism, Government of Karnataka, basically without explanation.
It was learned that there are shades of politics in the decision of the state to back out of the event, but in what way is not clear.
It is not very often, in fact it is rare, that an industry convention is called off only a few weeks before the event. The support of the states where the conventions are held is vital for funding and other logistical support, so without that support, the cancellation is beyond the control of the event organizers.
IATO had booked 400 rooms at Hotel Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, and the convention hall but had to release all bookings due to the withdrawal of support from Karnataka Tourism. An interesting program was being chalked out which will now have to wait until the event can be rescheduled, possibly to be held in December. New dates and a venue have not yet been solidified especially based on such short notice from the Karnataka Tourism Department.
Alternative cities and states are now being explored to hold the convention later in the year which would probably be in the month of December. In the past, many national and international events have been held in Bangalore, which is also near Mysore and is home to luxury hotels and varied cuisine, so this may be a strong possibility.