Manas Dwivedi

TAFI writes to airlines seeking clarification on ticket refunds for booking post 25th May

Pradeep Lulla, Acting President and VP, TAFI, has said that the association has reached out to all the domestic airlines seeking clarification on air ticket refunds for bookings made for travel from 25th May 2020. This comes after the government decided to resume limited domestic flight operations around the country. Lulla said that since certain conditional clarifications are not mentioned by the airlines, they have written to airlines for matters concerning tour operators. He also said that TAFI’s petition on airline refunds in Supreme Court will come up for hearing probably in the next 10 days.

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Inbound Tourism is not going to start in 2020 in absence of vaccination: IATO

In a letter to all its members, the President of IATO has said that inbound tourism is not going to start in 2020 in the absence of a vaccination. Pronab Sarkar in the letter also said that the association seeks ideas from members on how they look at survival in individual capacity if there is no support from the Government. For the learning of other members from these ideas, IATO is looking forward to suggestions from everyone. Once inputs are received, IATO will call an all members Zoom meeting for members’ inputs and discuss the way forward. The association will communicate the date and time of members Webinar once it receives inputs and ideas by Wednesday, 27th May 2020 evening.

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Uttarakhand extends financial support of Rs 75 crore to tourism and hospitality sector

Providing relief to the tourism, hospitality and transport sectors, Uttarakhand Govt. has announced many exemptions and relief measures worth Rs 75 crore for the industry. The government has decided to transfer Rs 1,000 each in the bank accounts of about 2.43 lakh workers directly associated with 1,09,818 units. The State Govt would bear the financial burden of Rs 25 crore for the measure. It also decided to reimburse the interest incurred on the principal amount for the first trimester (April to June) on the loans taken under Veer Chandra Singh Garhwali tourism self-employment scheme and Deen Dayal homestay schemes. Similarly, the annual increase in the bill of water for the hotels, restaurants and other roadside Dhabbas has been pegged at 9 per cent instead of the usual 15 per cent this year. The State Cabinet decided to provide an exemption of one year for renewal of permits for all types of commercial vehicles. Owners of these vehicles would not have to pay road tax for three months.

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MoCA caps fares for domestic flights, Delhi-Mumbai to cost between Rs 3500-Rs 10,000

Hardeep Sing Puri, Minister, Civil Aviation, has announced that they will be starting flights on one-thirds of the routes approved in the summer schedule of 2020 from May 25. The minimum and maximum fares for all the flights on these routes will be capped depending on the duration of the flight, which is divided into seven bands. He shared that the fare for the busiest route Delhi-Mumbai would be between Rs. 3500-Rs 10,000 and there will be three buckets in which seats will be allocated by the airline where they cannot exceed the prices in the first bucket by more than half of the price range of the rate capping.

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Hotels need to create a good balance between technology and human interaction: Jatin Khanna

Jatin Khanna, Market Vice President- North India, Bhutan and Nepal at Marriott Hotels India, has said that while technology is on the rise in the COVI- era and would be a predominant factor in creating guest experience once the crisis over, hotels should strive towards maintaining a balance between technology and interaction of guests with employees. Speaking at the 3rd TravTalk Digital Conclave, he said, “Hotels should create a good balance where the guest journey is complete and there is minimalistic social impact. We need to create a balance between technology and our human guests’ interaction with the employees. I think technology is here to stay, which will help us in the coming times.”

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Corporates will not buy travel the same way: Rajdev Bhattacharya, Wipro

Speaking from the corporate’s perspective during the 3rd TravTalk digital Conclave, Rajdev Bhattacharya, General Manager, Global Travel & Hospitality Services and Way2go, Digital Operations & Platforms for Wipro Limited said, “Virtual meetings are here to stay. Corporates will cut down on international travel in the short term, at least till April 2021, and airfares will go up as well. A lot of factors are fluid at this point of time but we can be sure that corporates will not buy travel the same way as before. To be able to cater to this, travel companies will definitely have to relook at the mix of people they will hire, depending on their skill sets. The entire travel industry is going to move to IT. They will also have to learn how to close deals on the phone. We will need to change the narrative of the crisis. The mindset is important. We are going to look at 2020 and say that it made us more resilient.”

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ETAA announces national committee for 2020-2021 amidst lockdown

The Enterprising Travel Agents Association (ETAA) has announced its new National Committee for the term 2020-2021. Jagat Mehta will continue to be the President and Board Member, and Dharmesh Advani has been promoted to National General Secretary and Board Member of ETAA. Meghana Gautam is now Joint General Secretary while Carl Dantas remains Chairman Emeritus and Founder President of ETAA. During the lockdown, the association conducted 15 webinars for its members on various topics such as CRM, unexplored destinations, insurance, legal compliance, social media, etc. It will continue to organise webinars for its members to impart knowledge and to assist them in growing business. Jagat Mehta says, “The association is disappointed with the government as it has not considered any relief packages for the Tourism Industry even after our constant efforts to highlight the problems faced by our industry due to Covid-19. However, we are still pursuing the matter, since this effect may last for a significant period in the near future.” The various Chapter Chairpersons are Sangeeta Manocha (North India), Santosh Khawale (Western India), Koushik Banerjee (East India), Jagadeesh Hanumanthaih (South India) and Nikhil Pargaonkar (Mumbai Region). Abhijit Khadilkar has decided to move on from his post of National General Secretary for ETAA and will now concentrate on growing his business.  

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Switzerland to host webinar on Interlaken today at 3 pm

Switzerland Tourism invites the trade to participate in its webinar titled ‘Unlimited Swissness in Interlaken’ to be hosted today at 3:00 pm. Interlaken is situated between the Lakes Thun and Brienz and is centrally located in Switzerland. Surrounded by the mountains Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau, it not only provides numerous excursion opportunities but is also a hub for adventure activities in Switzerland. This webinar will provide the trade with the latest information and updates about Interlaken. Travel partners who attend all their webinars stand a chance of winning a trip to Switzerland. For more information, please contact Jaspreet Kaur on 9650196532 or jaspreet.kaur@ddppl.com.

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ATOAI releases guest guidelines for post COVID-19 handling of guests

The Adventure Tour Operators Association of India (ATOAI) has released a set of guidelines for post-COVID-19 handling of guests by tour operators. Sharing the information in a tweet, the association said that The ATOAI guidelines will serve as recommendations for the safe handling of guests in a post-COVID-19 world. The document features the list of steps various stakeholders should take while on a tour or at their property/hotel. The intended audience for these guidelines is tour operators and accommodation providers including hotels, resorts and homestays. This document is NOT intended to serve as the definitive mandate for these operations, nor is it intended to cover every aspect of accommodation and tour operator businesses. ATOAI has focussed on the most common guest touchpoints, collating publicly information from a variety of sources. One should also not expect that following these guidelines guarantees no infection. The full guidelines can be accessed at www.atoai.org/index.php/about-us/covid-19-guidelines.html   

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New virtual reality tourism products should be introduced in the market: Bharat Bhushan Atree

Bharat Bhushan Atree, Managing Director, Caper Travel Company during the 3rd TravTalk Digital Conclave said that with new technology in the industry, new virtual reality products should be introduced for tourism. “Sustainability is the biggest issue right now. Spending wisely should be the only smart plan B. We should look at curating innovative products to promote inbound tourism and strategize our marketing and promotional approach. There should not be a lot of expectation from the government. A lot of people will also look at consolidation in the industry,” he said.  

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