Category Archives: Agents

Inbound sector completely ignored

Rajan Sehgal, Chairman, TAAI- Northern Chapter, has a stern opinion on Union Budget. “For the last so many years, there has been no mention of tourism. This time as well, tourism was mentioned only for two minutes. We cannot think of growth and promotion of tourism internationally without having our house in order. No monument in India is of international standard, and people only know of the Taj Mahal, which is the only monument we can sell, which too is not tourism friendly.” On how the Budget ignored the inbound sector, Sehgal says, “Tourism brings in foreign exchange as well as creates employment. Very cleverly, the government has seen outbound tourism where they have seen two crore people are travelling, and thus they should come in the tax bracket. But they have not emphasised on inbound, which would bring the foreign exchange. They are just trying to collect tax, but they have not understood the potential of tourism. We have to have direct interaction with the Prime Minister’s Office. Tourism needs to be a very easy industry, and the tax should be simplified in this sector. Other countries follow this and are booming.”

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Allocate more funds for commerce ministry

Sarab Jit Singh, Vice-Chairman, FAITH, appreciated the Finance Minister for taking cognizance of FAITH’s recommendations. “The positive in today’s budget is acceptance and announcement by the Finance Minister of creating five special tourism zones, which was FAITH’s recommendation. Secondly, the announcement for Incredible India branding to be relaunched internationally and 35 per cent increase for its allocation is also a positive from our perspective,” he says. He goes on to explain the flip side. “The negative point according to me is the fact that the government is saying that exports are going down. However, tourism is the only industry which can now bring foreign exchange and generate employment, and the only incentives we were getting from were from the Ministry of Commerce, whose total allocation in the budget has now been reduced. Thus, it is a counterproductive feature. If the government wants to increase imports and wants growth, they cannot have lesser allocation for commerce ministry.” He contemplates on the status of tourism industry post this budget and says, “Tourism in the country is not growing for many years. We have lost for decades together; we have lost marketplace completely internationally; as well as we have lost to competing countries. Until the government moves all the aspects together with full force, we will not have results. I agree that the Prime Minister should talk to the industry directly.”

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Not much to help the industry

Vikram Madhok, Managing Director, Abercrombie & Kent India, says that the budget really has not taken tourism into much consideration. “Yes, a lot has been said about the railways in the budget and we welcome any other infrastructure investment, but there is not much that is going to help the industry directly. This year’s budget has nothing much for tourism,” he added.

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Key tourism issues omitted

IATO President Pronab Sarkar says budget did not give any encouragement to the tourism industry. “There was no mention of the tourism industry, and no benefits or plus points were announced. Apart from speaking about five tourism circuits and second phase of the Incredible India campaign, nothing else was mentioned.” Detailing their expectations and the disappointment that followed, Sarkar says, “We were expecting e-visa changes to be applicable, which were announced in December. The Prime Minister is talking about branding India and mentioning tourism amongst the five pillars, but no one has looked into the prospects of this Industry. Thus, the government needs to be sensitised. As association, we tried seeking appointment with him and did write to him on Twitter, but haven’t heard from anyone as yet.”

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Rural and infrastructure focus will boost tourism indirectly

P.P. Khanna, President, ADTOI, says, “The Union Budget didn’t directly focus on tourism, but was more directed at the rural sector, youth and infrastructure. However, there was a mention of the Global Incredible India campaign. Also, the proposal of developing India International Institutes for foreign languages would really benefit the tourism industry, and would offer employment to almost 1 lakh students graduating from these institutes every year. The dedication towards Clean India and Skill India would also result in a boost to tourism and creating employment in this sector, and boosting domestic tourism.” He highlighted another positive which is the waiving off of Service Charge on IRCTC bookings. “The focus on rural tourism might lead to better infrastructure and education in these areas, which in turn would help bring tourists to these areas as well. However, the effect of all these things would only be seen in three to five years.”

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Tourism left to fend for itself

Homa Mistry, CEO, Trail Blazer Tours India, takes a very despair outlook to the omission of tourism and hospitality from the Union Budget 2017-18. “Tourism has been going through very tough times and we have realized we are on our own. I did not have any expectations from the government and as always the Budget did not have anything for the tourism and hospitality industry. I am just not surprised,” he says. Mistry remains cautious about the upcoming Goods and Services Tax. “We are however looking forward to the Good and Services Tax (GST) Bill which too shall be more of a bomb dropped on us,” he adds.

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ETAA to host second domestic convention from March 3-5

ETAA will be hosting its second domestic convention from March 3-5, near Hyderabad. The convention will be held at Leonia Resort which is one hour away from the Hyderabad airport. As of now Tourism Fiji have confirmed to be the co-sponsors for the convention and other tourism boards may soon join in. The convention will host B2B sessions, presentations from the exhibitors and sponsors showcasing new products and destinations to its members. The third day will be a optional sightseeing tour of Hyderabad which will be part of the package. Speaking on the occasion Jagat Mehta, President, ETAA said, “We want to showcase new products to our members and maximise their business possibilities so we will be having exhibitors showcasing unique products at the convention. We may also plan to keep knowledge sessions on GST and its effect on the travel industry once there is a clear picture by the government. We expect 200 plus members across the country to attend the convention.” ETAA will also be hosting knowledge sessions in Kolkata on 4th February and Hyderabad on 10th February focussing on up-selling and cross selling where professionals from the travel and trade industry will be present.

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Philippines Tourism to organise training sessions in Delhi and Ahmedabad

The Department of Tourism (DOT), Philippines will be conducting training sessions in Ahmedabad and Delhi this February, in conjunction with the DOT’s participation in OTM 2017 in Mumbai. The training sessions will be conducted by top suppliers from the Philippines in Ahmedabad on February 24 at Hyatt Ahmedabad and on February 27 in Delhi at The Lalit New Delhi. The objective of the workshop is to educate, interact and establish commercial ties with Indian trade in these cities. Representatives from DOT Philippines along with a 14 -member delegation will interact with over 400 key travel agents and tour operators, MICE and up-market leisure operators. SanJeet, Tourism Attaché, Philippines Tourism, said, “India being an important source market for Philippines tourism, such training sessions ( our first of 2017) will provide an excellent platform to showcase the destination’s products and services. The Indian travellers’ palate has become experimental and therefore, through our numerous trade initiatives, we envisage the influencers of the Indian travel market to sell the destination more effectively to the end consumers.” The programme for the workshop will include presentations by officials of DOT Philippines, DMCs and hotels from the Philippines in addition to Q&A, detailed networking sessions, entertainment by Filipino artists and a special lucky draw for the participants.

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Ezeego1 launches new franchise outlet in Surat

Ezeego1, a comprehensive online portal that provides end-to-end travel related services, launched its new franchise store in Surat, Gujarat, with an aim to grow its presence and cater to the increasing travel demand from travelers in this market. This franchise outlet will act as a one-stop-shop for all travel needs and provide services like flight tickets, hotel accommodation, car rentals, holiday packages, rail, cruise, bus, sightseeing, visa and insurance, both online and offline. Travelers can choose from a wide variety of group tour summer packages to domestic destinations like Ladakh, Andaman, Sikkim, Himachal, Goa and Kashmir and international destinations like Europe, South Africa, Dubai, Thailand, Mauritius, Hong Kong, Singapore, amongst many others. The store will also offer only- veg tours for travellers who have a vegetarian or Jain food preference. Neelu Singh, Chief Executive Officer and Director, Ezeego1, said, “We are happy to announce the launch of our franchisee owned and operated in Surat, an important source market for several destinations. Rising disposable income and growing travel aspirations have increased the travel appetite of people in Tier II and Tier III markets. Considering that a large number of travelers contributing to the domestic and international travel market are from Gujarat, there is immense opportunity to tap and gain a stronghold in this market. We also plan to expand our franchise network to other cities in West India, for deeper market penetration.” Ezeego1 will provide the franchisee with an active marketing, technical and store development support. The marketing activity will include print and radio advertising, attractive and preferential commercials. Store development support will include store designing to reinforce the brand’s look and feel. Training and technical support will be provided to …

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Stayzilla ties up with Agri Tourism Development Company to promote rural tourism

After strategic tie-ups with eight state tourism departments across India, Stayzilla gets on board with Agri Tourism Development Company Private Limited (ATDC) to promote Agri Tourism homestays. ATDC is a private organization which stands to endorse agriculture tourism to achieve income, employment and economic stability in rural communities in India. It also helps to boost a range of activities, services and amenities provided by farmers and rural people to attract urban tourists to their area, thus providing opportunity for urban people to get back to the roots. The MoU was signed between Western Region Office of Stayzilla and ATDC Pune Headquarters. Ankit Rastogi, Vice President Marketplace, Stayzilla, said “India is largely an agrarian economy and most of the festivals and culture are centered at agriculture. The real taste of Indian culture lies in the villages and adding agri-tourism to the portfolio is a logical progression. With this collaboration Stayzilla becomes the strongest proponent of experiential tourism in India. Our associations with different state governments also share the same vision towards rural tourism.” Stayzilla will collaborate with ATDC to promote agri tourism by empowering the farmers to market their homestays with the support of Stayzilla’s platform. Under this MoU, more than 300 agri tourism stays will be listed on Stayzilla to provide an enhanced experiential stays for the tourists where they can stay with the local people in the rural areas. The MoU also provides for joint workshops by Stayzilla and ATDC in which the farmers will be trained on travel technology and Agri- tourism. “The sole objective of ATDC is to promote agri tourism by all means possible and take up initiatives that works for promotion of our rural communities. Promotion …

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