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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Travel Newsy Interviews: IATO Presidential Candidates: Rajiv Mehra and Lally Mathews


As the election date approaches closer the heat is turning on. The two contesting teams, “The team Moving Forward”, headed by Rajiv Mehra and “The Team For Change” headed by Lally Mathews, have been busy getting involved with the members, answering questions, sharing their past achievements, election Manifesto, to gather maximum support. IATO will soon find out the new leadership it would operate under.

Looking at the current circumstances of the tourism industry, whichever candidate or team wins the elections, they face mammoth task to gather Government support for the tourism industry and more importantly IATO members.

While it completely depends who the members vote for, both the teams have urged the members to give a decisive verdict to a single team and avoiding a fractured verdict.

We conducted an interview with both the presidential candidates to understand their plans if they get voted to power.

What edge does your team have over your opposition team, that should convince members to Vote you to power.

Rajiv Mehra:  My Team is a very dedicated, 24 x 7  hardworking and have knowledge of all the subjects. The members of my team have been in business for a long time and they know the ins and outs of our business. They have very close relationship with the Ministries and other Departments.

Lally Mathews:  I have a proper balance of experience and youth. They are all doers and they all want to stand by the small and medium operators. 

What will be your top 5 priorities if elected?

Rajiv Mehra:

  • First priority is to have the lower limit of Rs. 2 Crores reduced to Rs. 25 Lacs and upper limit of Rs. 25 Crores to Rs. 50 Crores atleast for availing MDA scheme.
  • To have 2019 – 2020 SEIS cleared as soon as possible.
  • To have the new scheme for 2021 – 2025 to be introduced as soon as possible.
  • To ensure that E-visa and International flights are resumed soon.
  • For the survival and revival of the members as soon as E Visa and International flights are announced to convince Ministry of Tourism to start overseas promotion, Road Show and Fam Trips etc.

Lally Mathews: My top priorities will be:

  • Waiver of Membership fees,
  • Amendment of the Constitution,
  • Women representation,
  • Total transparency 
  • Follow up of the SEIS. 

Tourism industry received no support from Government of India. If elected what will be your demand from the Government and how do you plan to win their support.

Rajiv Mehra: We are still after the Government for Financial help specially SEIS and Soft Loans.

Lally Mathews:  Yes, unfortunately the Government did not give any relief. Will ask the govt through the ministry to try and get some soft loans with 3 to 4 percent interest for the members. 

How do you plan to support members to help them increase their business in the days to come?

Rajiv Mehra: As mentioned above we plan that Ministry of Tourism should have a number of road shows abroad and fam trips to be operated. Also, IATO website should be promoted in our source market including Chinese Market and also link Ministry of Tourism website with IATO website for more business.

Lally Mathews: Will request the govt to organise maximum road shows and allow members to attend all the travel fairs and cover them under the MDA scheme. The govt should have a great marketing drive all over the source markets. 

How do you plan to help in skill development of members and their employees?

Rajiv Mehra: We have done a number of skilled development programmes before March 2020 and then since October 2020 to January 2021 a Number of virtual skilled development programme for our members and employees were organized and we will continue the same on PAN India basis.

Lally Mathews: We propose to have a lot of skill development programmes and also look into imparting different language skill.

What’s Message for IATO Members

Rajiv Mehra: My appeal to all members is to vote for my team for the continuation of the work which we have done under the Leadership of Mr. Sarkar . My Team is committed to work for the survival and revival of our members and take the Agenda forward.

Lally Mathews: My appeal to  all the contestants is not to adhere to mud slinging and character assassination. Have respect for the opponents. 

My appeal to the members is to join hands with me and my Team and help us make the changes. Support me and my Team for Change. 


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