Tourism Breaking News

TAFI Western Chapter elects new team

The Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) has introduced its new team for Western India Chapter for 2016-18. The new team comprises Abbas Moiz (Chairman), Sapna Rateria (Secretary), Jitul Mehta (Treasurer), Vikram Paul (Returning Officer), Suprabh Oza (Committee Member) and Burjis Mehta (Committee Member). Rajat Bagaria, Member, TAFI National Managing Committee, said, “The new committee thanks Darshan Mehta, Outgoing Chairman, for his contribution towards TAFI and the trade. We would also like to thank Vikram Paul, who has consented to be the Returning Officer. We re-iterate our commitment to the improvement of the trade. We shall work hand-in-hand with partner associations where needed to stand united as an industry. We request all members to please bring to us the issues which are being faced. We have been approached by members with their visa issues, ADM and other issues, which we are trying to resolve. We look forward to suggestions and guidance from all our members.”

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India to open new consulate in Seattle, USA

India will soon open its sixth consulate in Seattle to cater to the needs of large number of Indian-Americans living in the North West part of the US. “We hope to open a new Indian consulate in Seattle,” Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar said after the conclusion of the talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama at the White House. This was reflected in a joint statement issued after Modi-Obama talks. “Both sides committed to open additional consulates in each other’s country. India will be opening a new consulate in Seattle and the US will open a new consulate at a mutually agreed location in India,” the joint statement said. Apart from its embassy in Washington, India currently have consulates in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Houston and Atlanta.

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No audits under Service Tax: Delhi HC

According to a recent judgement by the Delhi High Court, there cannot be any audit of assesse records by the Central Excise and Service Tax Department and struck down Rule 5A(2) of Service Tax Rules as ultra vires to the Finance Act, 1994. It is a general practice of Service Tax Department to conduct audit of service tax assessee for last five years by deputing their own officers of the rank of inspector and Superintendents. Service Tax Department also seeks voluminous details and seeks information in self-specified format/annexures of about 32 pages, which are not prescribed under the law. Service Tax Department without assigning any reasons and routinely conducts audit even when it is not prescribed under the law and not conducting special audit. This comes as a huge relief for travel companies who have faced instances of audit by service tax department.

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ANA’s tab for Hindi-speaking passengers

ANA will introduce a new, specially-developed tablet device in June called the ANA Communication Board. With speech and pictogram functionality, this new tool will support smoother communication at the airport and in-flight with passengers of multiple nationalities, as well as with those who require special attention. As a global leading airline, the ANA Communication Board will be capable of supporting communication in Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean, with plans to add an additional 13 languages, including Hindi as well. The software will also include terms to facilitate initial medical response in the event a passenger suddenly becomes ill or injured in-flight. Furthermore, the ANA Communication Board will improve interactions with customers who are hearing or speech-impaired. Until now, ANA has been using paper and pens to communicate with these passengers. By switching to a tablet solution including pictograms, ANA staff will be able to communicate more readily in a larger number of situations and respond to a wider range of customer needs.

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DGCA to cap airlines’ cancellation fees

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has reportedly told airlines that ticket cancellation fees cannot exceed base fares. Every other charge collected apart from the base fare should be refunded to the customer since airfares have components like service tax and other airport charges in them, a senior aviation ministry official said. Any booking site charges will also need to be included within the new limit. The DGCA has already held discussions with airlines on the new rules, which will be announced soon, he said. This move comes into action after air fares skyrocketed during the Chennai floods last year and the Jat agitation in Haryana in February for which the government stepped in to cap ticket prices.

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VFS revises service fee for Australia

Due to changes in the Service Tax structure, VFS service fees and VAS service charges for Australia Visa Application will be revised with effect from June 1, 2016.The revised primary applicant fee is Rs. 1006 (from earlier Rs. 966) and additional applicant fee is Rs. 714 (from earlier Rs. 676) . Charges have also been revised for Photo booth Rs. 154, Return Courier Rs. 307, ETA Assisted terminal Rs. 190, Assisted Form Filling Service Rs. 190, 2 way Courier/drop off courier Rs. 616 and Premium Lounge Rs. 2048.

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Costa Cruises stations ship in Mumbai

Costa Cruises is all set to sail from Mumbai starting December 2016 until March 2017. Nalini Gupta, Head, Costa Cruises India and MD, Lotus Destinations, said, “Costa cruise will be homeporting Costa neoClassica in Mumbai port from December 23, 2016 to March 18, 2017. During this period, we will be doing seven nights sailing from Mumbai to Maldives and seven nights return to Mumbai with interesting Indian ports enroute.” The move would finally put India on the cruising map. The seven day itinerary ex-Mumbai goes to Mangalore and then to Cochin, and finally to Maldives. The 7 day itinerary ex-Maldives takes guests to Colombo), Goa and finally Mumbai. The cruise liner that will be operating on this route can accommodate around 1800 people.

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Jeffrey Goh: new CEO of Star Alliance

Jeffrey Goh has been appointed as Star Alliance’s Chief Executive, effective January 1, 2017, to succeed Mark Schwab, who will retire at the end of the year. Jeffrey Goh (47) will head Star Alliances Services GmbH, the Germany-based brand and project management company which coordinates the activities of the world’s largest and most experienced airline alliance. Jeffrey Goh is currently Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel of Star Alliance, with responsibilities including strategy and membership development, human resources, joint sourcing and fuel-related projects, as well as legal, finance and project Management. Jeffrey Goh joined Star Alliance in 2007 from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and prior to that taught and practised law. He holds a doctorate in the principles and policies of regulating airline competition and regulation. “This early decision lays the groundwork for a smooth leadership transition at the top of the Alliance’s management company”, said Calin Rovinescu, Chairman of the Chief Executive Board. “Mark Schwab led the Alliance through an important period. After more than a decade of adding new member airlines in significant and strategic markets around the globe, the focus of the Alliance has shifted to a closer integration of customer-facing services, systems and processes. With Jeffrey, we have selected an experienced aviation professional who is well-known and respected by our member airliners and will be able to lead our Alliance organisation through the fast-moving developments in this highly competitive global aviation environment in the coming years,” he added. “I am truly honoured,” said Jeffrey Goh.” I would like to thank the Chief Executive Board for their confidence in me. It is critical that we not only deliver greater value to our member airlines but also strive …

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ADTOI launches Chhattisgarh chapter

The Chhattisgarh Chapter of ADTOI was launched on June 5, 2016, at Hyatt Raipur. The event was attended by the entire central leadership of ADTOI and all the Executive Council members of the association. Ritesh Mundhra of Choice Holidays is the Chhattisgarh Chapter Chairman while Jaspreet S. Bhatia, Ice Cubes Holidays is the General Secretary. Chairman and Vice Chairman  of Chhattisgarh Tourism Board along with the General Manager were also present during the function. All the newly joined members of the State chapter were duly honoured. A large number of local travel agents were also present during the event. ADTOI members from other cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Jaipur also marked their presence. The members are: Kapil Jain, Kewal Shanti Travels Mahesh Bansal, Star india travels Pankaj Sood, Satguru Holidays Ajeet Dodai, Travel Hawk Sunil Vishwakarma, Indian Holidays Parminder Sahni, Travelwithsmile.com Rohit Dwivedi, Holiday Junction Hardeep Hora, Travel Planners Manoj, Global Travels Ricky Malhotra, Travel Boutique

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