Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO):- Over the year the functions of the travel companies have increased considerably. The travel agencies are no more acting as middlemen between the vendors and tourists. They are specialized in one product line i.e. tour packaging. Today, they are the manufacturers of tourism products and are commonly known as ‘tour operators‘.
Tour operators have their own price tag for earning a profit and has developed several tour promotional programs.
However, to encourage, assist, and to protect the interests of tour operators, the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) was formed in 1982. IATO was established in 1982 at the national capital Delhi. The association is the representative body of tour operators.
IATO promotes, develops, and helps the members to maintain and set up high ethical standards in the industry. It has been playing a very significant role in the promotion and development of inbound tourism.
The IATO has taken many steps which are necessary for promoting, assisting and encouraging the development of travel and tourism throughout the country and has also taken an initiative to secure the welfare of tourism business in all respects.
The association has promoted an equal opportunity for all visitors to enjoy the travel facilities without the distinction of race, color, creed, and nationality.
Objectives and Aims of IATO
IATO is a large tourism organization in India. It is the association of tour operators. IATO helps in the development and promotion of travel and tourism in India. The main objectives of IATO are:
- To promote national integration, international welfare, and goodwill.
- To take necessary steps in the promotion, encouragements, and development of tourism in the country.
- To develop, promote, and encourage friendly feelings among the tour operators and travel agents/agencies.
- To protect the interest of the members.
- To set up and maintain high ethical standards.
- To settle the disputes of the members.
- To communicate and negotiate with chambers of commerce, IATA, DoT, Ministry of Tourism, and other organizations in other countries.
- To organize the promotional tour with DoT, Airlines, and International Tourism bodies.
- To institute awards for excellence in the travel trade.
- To assist students with the scholarship to pursue higher education or research for the development of tourism.
- To undertake such welfare activities as the members cannot take individually.
- To print and publish information material for the benefit of members.
The membership of the association is open to all tourism and travel organizations in India and abroad if they have:
- Good professional reputation.
- Sound financial position.
- At least two years in the travel business.
- Recognized by DoT.
Other terms and conditions imposed by the association from time to time.
The association has the following members:
- Active Members
- Associated Members
- Allied Members
- Honorary Members
- International Members
To become a member of the IATO, organizations must apply on the prescribed form and must be proposed and seconded by the members of the association, of which one must be an active member. The application shall be considered by the executive committee and approved by a majority of 2/3 members. The decision of the executive committee will be final.
Role and Functions of IATO
Since the formation of IATO, the tour operation business has gained recognition and importance at globally. IATO has done remarkable work in the field of tourism promotion and development.
Main roles and functions of IATO are following as:
- Promote national integration and international understanding.
- Acts as an image builder.
- Organizes ‘Farm Tour’ (overseas).
- Encourage tourism education and research.
- Settle disputes between the members.
- Protect the members from the mal-practices.
- Provides information.
Tourism and travel associations exist in almost every country in the world. These associations lay down the guidelines, objectives aim to protect the interest of the members as well as tourists. The associations, directly and indirectly, promote tourism and build the image of the host country at the globe. These associations help the department of tourism to formulate effective and extensive tourism policies and strategies.