IATO (Indian Association of Tour Operators) which organised its 36th edition of the annual convention in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, conferred the ‘Hall of Fame’ award to industry veterans Dr Subhash Goyal, Chairman of STIC Travel Group and Mahender Singh Vaghela, popularly known as Mike Vaghela, a tourism industry stalwart from Gujarat and former Chairman, IATO Gujarat Chapter.Subhash Goyal, Chairman of Stic Travel Group, was conferred the ‘Hall of Fame’ award by the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO). Goyal received the award from Bhupendrabhai Patel, the Chief Minister of Gujarat, at the recently concluded 36th annual convention of the Association.
Goyal was elected President of the IATO for 14 years and has been a member of the IATO Executive Committee for 25 years. A well-respected face of the tourism industry in the country, Goyal was the founding member of the Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality (FAITH), the umbrella body of 10 trade associations in the tourism industry, and was its General Secretary.
As the General Secretary of FAITH, Goyal played a crucial role in setting up the India Tourism Mart (ITM) platform for promoting Incredible India and was the Chairman of the Annual B2B event for all the editions so far. A true entrepreneur, while focusing on his own business and its growth and expansion, Goyal was also at the forefront to lobby for favourable policies, concessions and reliefs, from time to time.
In an exclusive to Travel Span Subhash Goyal said, “I feel overwhelmed with gratitude for receiving the highest honour of the Tourism Industry, the IATO’s “Hall of Fame”. I am indebted to all the past & present Presidents, Office Bearers and EC members who decided to confer this honour on me.” Goyal said that he will continue to do work for the industry. “My gratitude & assurance to the Tourism Industry that till my last breath, I will leave no stone unturned to make India realize its true potential as the world’s greatest tourist destination thereby creating millions of jobs and also eradicating poverty through Tourism.,” he said.
Recounting previous years Goyal said IATO had only 300 members when he was elected as President in 1995. He worked hard on increasing the membership base of the IATO and made it a strong association with over 1500 members during his tenure. It is also during his tenure, IATO moved to its own office premises in Delhi. It was in 1995, during his Presidentship, that the then Prime Minister of the country, PV Narasimha Rao, attended an IATO convention for the first and the last time. “That event brought tourism into the limelight in the country for the first time,”. He further said that his biggest achievement as IATO President was to get the E-Tourist Visa policy announced and implemented.