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Generally, the IATO (Indian Association of Tour Operators) meetings which are held almost every month, are well organized with the leadership telling members what the association has been doing. Often, the guest speakers enlighten the members on topical subjects of interest.
The luncheon meeting on January 13, 2020, first for the year, had the usual Happy New Year greetings exchange, but it did not end there. What followed after updates by the office bearers was not entirely appreciated by all, especially the silent members who had to hear loud and clear that the association with a checkered past of achievements is also going under a silent turmoil, which came out in a loud form at the January 13 meeting.
One issue at stake was the question of how to categorize the membership – ordinary, allied, or associate. The move to downgrade the category of some because of not meeting the turnover requirement or for other reasons did not go down well with many members who asked that the opinion of lawyers, more than one, be made public and the pending applications be cleared. But the leadership wanted more time and to get approval from the Ministry of Tourism.
What irked some was that even some senior and founding members of IATO were under threat of being downgraded.
Heated arguments went on for a while, and it was clear that even the top brass had differences although all said that they were for the welfare of the members. Some seasoned members tried to cool tempers.
Some felt that if rules are changed, the membership would increase. There was talk of change in the rules but pending that some wanted quick action.
It is just possible that the association will come out stronger after the vibrant meeting, but for the moment, few appreciated the way the things came out, reminding some of a political rather than a professional body.