Category Archives: Agents

MOT convention for BRIC nations in Khajuraho from Aug 31

The Ministry of Tourism (MOT) will be organsising a convention for BRIC nations in Khajuraho from August 31-September 1.  The Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) will be hosting Fam tours for the delegates participating in the convention, revealed Rajiv Mehra, Vice President, IATO, during the IATO Interactive Luncheon Meeting on June 1 at Pride Plaza Hotel, New Delhi. The ministry will be inviting at least 25 foreign operators from these countries. However, a final confirmation from the Ministry of External Affairs is awaited. The meeting was held to discuss the New Exim policy introduced by the Govt. last year, under which tour operators earning foreign exchange are entitled to get SEIS scrip @5 per cent. Sanjeev Gupta, an expert on Exim Policy, made a presentation on SEIS Scheme as to how the scheme would benefit members.

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Service tax exemption on pilgrimage from July 2012- Aug 2014

The Central Government has notified travel serivce providers that it has exempted service tax on religious pilgrimage for Kailash Mansarovar, Haj Yatra or pilgrimage facilitated by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, between July 1, 2012 to August 19, 2014. A notification was issued to TAAI members on September 2, 2014, specifically exempting service tax on services provided by specified organisations in respect of religious pilgrimage for Kailash Mansarovar, Haj Yatra or a religious pilgrimage facilitate by MEA, GoI, with effect from August 20, 2014. However, for the period from July 1, 2012 to August 20, 2014 service tax was applicable on the aforesaid services but due to common practice prevalent during that time, no service tax was paid on the services.

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Cambodia Tourism’s 3-city roadshow

Ministry of Tourism, Cambodia along with Cambodia Airports is organising a three-city roadshow, starting from Bengaluru on May 23, Hyderabad on May 25 and concluding in Mumbai on May 27, 2016. A delegation of around 15 representatives from tourism and aviation stakeholders such as members of Cambodian Association of Travel Agents, PATA Cambodia Chapter members, members of Cambodia Hotels Association and Hotel Operators and Cambodian Airlines will be traveling to India for this. The last roadshow was held in New Delhi in 2014.  

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Peru Tourism appoints OM Tourism as PR representative

Peru Export and Tourism Promotion Board has appointed OM Tourism as their PR representative in India from May, 2016. “We are pleased to officially begin new and focused promotional efforts in India with OM Tourism, said, Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism (Mincetur) and President of The Board of PROMPERU, Magali Silva. Looking at the vast tourism potentiality of India Market, we believe that it will certainly be a key market in helping PROMPERÚ to increase the Indian footfall.” Sanjay Sondhi, CEO, OM Tourism, said, “We are extremely happy to be assigned the task of handling marketing, sales and public relations activities for PROMPERÚ in India. He added, Peru is a land of fascinating contrasts of beautiful landscapes of desert dunes, snow capped mountains, wildlife, beaches offering thrilling outdoor adventure, Pre-Columbian heritage to vibrant traditional festivals. The discerning Indian travelers looking for luxury experience can also explore and indulge in its rich gastronomy, rejuvenating spas and river cruises. As a result of its rich history, Peru today is packed with archaeological remains and colonial architecture. Add in the country’s spectacular natural beauty, and the product is an outstanding travel destination.”

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MakeMyTrip offers Forex with BookMyForex

MakeMyTrip has partnered with BookMyForex, a marketplace for retail foreign exchange and private remittances, to offer foreign exchange to its customers. Customers booking international travel products can subsequently purchase their foreign exchange with BookMyForex at the click of a button on MakeMyTrip platforms – website or mobile app. This will enable them to take advantage of BookMyForex’s live and finest rates that are updated every three seconds and enjoy door-step delivery of their foreign exchange products in over 200 Indian cities. Mohit Gupta, Chief Operating Officer – Online, MakeMyTrip said, “We are pleased to tie-up with BookMyForex for retail foreign exchange and look forward to adding to our existing travel solutions offerings. Being the pioneers in the online travel sector and as category leaders, the onus of growing the sector is on us. By partnering with BookMyForex, we are firmly establishing ourselves as the ultimate destination for the full suite of travel products.” Sudarshan Motwani, CEO, BookMyForex.com said, “BookMyForex has the unique ability to compare thousands of forex rates and service quality metrics across hundreds of banks and exchange companies.  Our platform is able to determine the bank or moneychanger offering the best rates and service in every city and every neighbourhood. Thanks to this partnership, we will now be able to extend the benefit of our platform to MakeMyTrip customers and connect them with the most ideal forex vendors in real time. Through the association, we will be able to tap the large international customer base of India’s largest OTA and help them buy all travel-related forex products at one single destination.”

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EQT is Kuoni’s new owner

After confirming talks with Swedish private equity group EQT and announcing the offer within a month, Kuoni will finally close the investment deal with its new owner this May. Zubin Karkaria, CEO, Kuoni Group and CEO, VFS Global, has revealed to TravTalk that the change of ownership through Swedish private equity firm EQT will happen soon and expects the transaction to be completed in May 2016. Based on the offer made by EQT in February, Kuoni Group is valued at around Rs 9,800 crore (on present currency rates, based on 1.4 billion Swiss Francs). The company’s Board feels that taking Kuoni private and handing over the responsibility for the group to an internationally-renowned new owner would be ideal. Karkaria together with the current management team will continue to lead the company. Kuoni Group focuses on three core activities: Global Travel Distribution (GTD), Global Travel Services (GTS) and VFS Global. He said in an email interview, “We expect the transaction to be completed in May 2016. We welcome EQT’s investment in the Kuoni Group, which underlines the attractiveness of our global business activities. With the new owners we will be able to accelerate the implementation of our strategy. Investments in technology and supporting acquisition opportunities give the Kuoni Group an excellent platform to build further on its leadership positions in travel industry services. EQT has an impressive track record of growing companies. With access to their experience and network in both the travel and tech industries, we will be able to accelerate the implementation of Kuoni’s strategy.”

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Namaste Tourism represents Croatian DMC

Mumbai-based travel company Namaste Tourism has now partnered with a Croatia-based regional expert, Adriatic DMC, to represent them in the Indian market. Adriatic DMC is a Balkan regional destination management company and specialises in travel programs to the Balkan region including Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Serbia and Macedonia. Subhash Motwani, Director of Namaste Tourism, said, “We are thrilled to represent Adriatic DMC, the first DMC in India to offer tours to the entire Balkan region. It has a wide range of product available in this growing region, and with a multiple entry Schengen visa you can travel to several Balkan countries.” It will help travel agents and tour operators in India to plan unique itineraries for their customers who are on the lookout for new destinations. “While Indian travelers are shy about discovering new destinations, we are positive that the mix of history, culture and unparalleled natural heritage combined on our bespoke tours will be a fit and of great interest for the travelers in this market,” said Srdjan Kristic, Managing Director of Adriatic DMC.

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Proposed fee hike for ASI monuments curbed to 50%

The Ministry of Tourism (MOT) has decided that the increase in ASI monument fees will only be 50 per cent of the proposed hike of 300 per cent. This means that for Category B monuments, there will be an increase from Rs. 100 to Rs. 200 only instead of Rs. 300. However, a premium ticket will be introduced of Rs. 300/- with some value additions. Similarly for Category A monuments, there will be an increase from Rs. 250 to Rs. 500 only instead of Rs. 750. Premium ticket will cost Rs. 750 with similar value additions. The above new rates will be effective from April 1, 2016. The decision was taken in a meeting with the Executive Committee (EC) members of the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) and officials from Archaelogical Survey of India (ASI). While the official notification from ASI is awaited, IATO has revealed that after constant deliberations with the MOT, finally the decision was taken in a meeting with Minister of State for Tourism and Culture (IC) Dr. Mahesh Sharma, in his office where Vinod Zutshi, Secretary (Tourism), Narendra Kumar Sinha, Secretary (Culture), Rakesh Tewari, DG (ASI), Navneet Soni, OSD to Minister of Culture, B. Purushottam, PS to Hon’ble Minister for Tourism & Culture, Suman Billa, Joint Secretary (Tourism) and many other senior officials were present. Also, the IATO EC was assured by Sharma that by April 15, 2016, there will be a separate counter and queue to enter at all the ASI monuments for those having ticket in category A of Rs. 500 and above and in Category B of Rs. 200 and above. Some other facilities include clean toilets and some fast food outlets …

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FITs will be affected

Sandeep Shetty, General Manager, Products & Operations, WOW Holidays, says, “The terror attacks on Brussels will definitely affect tourism to Europe though on the whole outbound tourism industry will not be adversely affected as travellers will continue to travel. Though the group travellers will not be affected much as bookings take place in advance, the FIT segment of tourism will be hit. Regions like France, Amsterdam, surrounding regions of Brussels and long haul destinations in Europe may witness less number of tourists over a short period of time and many short haul destinations like Croatia may get a boost from the same.”

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