Category Archives: Associations

Sunil Kumar re-elected as UFTAA President at 50th Congress

Sunil R. Kumar has been re-elected as the President of United Federation of Travel Agents’ Association (UFTAA) for the term 2016-17, at the association’s golden jubilee congress. UFTAA members gathered  in Istanbul on November 25 for the event. Welcoming the attendees at the congress, Kumar thanked TURSAB to invite them to the destination and arranging the event in Istanbul and assured that it would help boost inbound in the country. The theme of the congress is ‘Celebrate the Connect’. Kumar said that its necessary for different associations around the world to connect with each other and grow together. UFTAA also plans to have its global office in Doha, Qatar.

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Regional & State-level guides allowed at centrally protected monuments

All guides with licences issued by ASI and Additional Director General, Tourism, are valid and can enter all the Centrally Protected Monuments including Fatehpur Sikri, till fresh licences are issued under the new Policy, informs Pronab Sarkar, President, IATO quoting Supreme Courts’ order on IATO’s writ petition. IATO had sought clarification on the restricted entry of Regional Level Guides and State Level Guides at Fatehpur Sikri, where only local guides were being allowed to work. This was causing financial burden on IATO members as they had to pay guide fee to their Regional/State Level Guide and the local guide.

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‘Illegal implementation of BSP Link charges in India’

IATA-accredited travel agents all over India will soon be receiving invoices from IATA for the annual additional amount of $360 towards usage of the 2-tier BSP Link Access that is being implemented effective January 1, 2017. IAAI has contended that, though it is required under IATA Res. 818g, the new BSP Link charges in India have not been listed through the agenda and neither discussed or approved nor recommended by the APJC-India as per the IATA procedures. Hence IATA’s decision to charge $30 per month is totally illegal, arbitrary and unacceptable to the Indian Travel Agents Fraternity, said Biji Eapen, National President, IAAI National Board in an official release. Eapen affirms that IAAI will go “the whole nine yards” and attempt to get a reversal on this unwarranted action by IATA. On November 15, IAAI has communicated to the IATA Regional Director at Singapore requesting to take suggested actions immediately. The Government of India authorities and Ministry are also being alerted and notified on this subject matter. IAAI has been the only Travel Trade Association that has risen to the occasion on behalf of the IATA-accredited Travel Agents in India – as in the matter of getting the Rs.20 lakhs Minimum Guarantee withdrawn in 2002, in getting the High Court of Kerala and the DGCA to issue Orders mandating Travel Agency commission, in getting IATA to invoke force majeure for the BSP payment by Tamil Nadu Travel Agents during the thunderstorm calamity in Nov/Dec 2015 and, recently, in retaining the Insurance Guarantee system actively as the only alternative to the Joint Bank Guarantee system.

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Lack of policies stifling potential growth of Indian tourism: WTTC

India’s Travel & Tourism sector has a huge potential, but growth remains largely untapped due to a lack of a co-ordinated approach to tourism policies, said David Scowsill, President & CEO, World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). Speaking at the Hotel Investment Forum India in Mumbai, Scowsill highlighted that India’s Travel & Tourism sector has extraordinary potential and is forecast to grow by 7.5% per annum over the next decade. In 2015, Travel & Tourism contributed 6.3% to India’s GDP, which is well below the global average of 10%. Additionally, international arrivals were around 8 million visitors per year, which is substantially lower than other countries. China receives 57 million visitors annually and Thailand 30 million. “Travel & Tourism is growing in India, but it comes from a low base compared to other countries in Asia. With the forecast growth for domestic and international tourism, we now stand at a crossroads. Now is the time for India to take off and fulfil its potential,” Scowsill added. Scowsill stressed six priorities which WTTC believes the Government should address urgently, to boost domestic business and leisure travel and to dramatically increase international arrivals: 1. Put tourism at the heart of its economic agenda: the government must deliver on its 2014 manifesto promise to prioritise the sector as a driver of economic growth. 2. Agree a responsible rate of GST: rather than implement a level of 18% tax, a range of 9-14% would certainly boost the social and economic potential of the sector. 3. Invest more into the ‘Incredible India’ campaign: look at other sources of marketing monies, whether from visa fees or private sector matching funds. 4. Continue the electronic visa programme …

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PATA appoints Young Tourism Professional Ambassador

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has appointed Jie Cheng Wong as Young Tourism Professional Ambassador effective January 1, 2017. This new role has been created as part of the Association’s continuing commitment to the development of young tourism professionals. In her new role Wong reports to PATA’s Director – Human Capital Development Parita Niemwongse. “The development of human capital is one of our industry’s biggest challenges and it is vitally important that we engage and inspire the next generation of leaders,” said Dr. Mario Hardy, CEO, PATA. “JC joined our organisation as an Associate Intern before accepting a full-time position as Communications and Marketing Assistant. She is the perfect candidate to connect with dynamic young industry professionals and I am sure that she will revel in this new role as our Young Tourism Professional Ambassador.” PATA has established a new membership category exclusively for young tourism professionals and Wong’s activities will centre upon the launch and development of a programme of youth-centric activities throughout the year. She will also manage and further develop the network of PATA student chapters, working closely with the Association’s events team to ensure that students and young professionals are given the opportunity to attend and participate at PATA events. “We want tomorrow’s tourism industry leaders to have a platform today to share their views. PATA is committed to providing that platform and we look forward to creating many opportunities for positive engagement with this influential group, “added Dr. Hardy.

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HRANI advocated for 5% GST for hospitality and tourism sectors

Hotel and Restaurant Association of India (HRANI) has urged the government to classify tourism and hospitality businesses (hotels & resorts, tour operators, travel agents, tourism transport operators, convention centres, destination/ amusement/entertainment infrastructure creation companies) in the lower slab at 5 per cent. They have also asked the government to ensure zero per cent rating for foreign exchange earning tourism, travel & hospitality businesses. A meeting of HRANI Managing Committee was held at Wildflower Hall in Shimla on November 8, 2016, followed by a press meet. A representation on the same was submitted to Shrikant Baldi (IAS) Addl. Chief Secy. (Finance, Planning, Economics & Statistics, Twenty Point Programme). To discuss the same in details Sanjay Sood, President, HRANI and CEO, the Devicos, Shimla; Surendra Jaiswal, Hony Secretary and Garish Oberoi, Treasurer, HRANI and MC members of HRANI met V.C. Pharka, IAS Chief Secretary Tourism & Civil Aviation, Tribal Development, Information & Public Relations. The issues concerning the hospitality fraternity of H.P. were submitted to him and Hon’ble Minister of forest including other concerned officials of Himachal Government. During the briefing, Jaiswal emphasised that in order to boost inbound or outbound tourism, GST should be brought at lowest slab of 5% for hospitality and tourism making India a competitive tourist destination. Oberoi, Treasurer, HRANI, said that GST at lowest slab will attract more investment in the country and will also be conducive to business and growth in the sector.

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Make some relaxations until normalcy returns

Sarabjit Singh, Vice Chairman, FAITH, reveals that tour operators are facing problems everywhere they need to pay higher amount, especially at interstate tolls, which has now been relaxed till Nov 11. “The denominations for 50 and 100 is not available in large numbers as of now. Paying monument fee turned out to be a big problem for tourists. Jaipur has made the entry complimentary for the monuments, and the same should be followed at other places. Either there should be alternate arrangements to deal with this problem, or there should be some relaxation until normalcy returns,” he adds.

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Govt needs to better manage such moves

E.M. Najeeb, Chairman, IATO Southern Region, and Chairman & Managing Director, Air Travel Enterprises Group of Companies (ATE), says the decision has badly hit tourists today as thousands of tourists who are in India cannot pay in restaurants, do shopping, or pay for local purchases. “Apart from the stay, which is pre-paid, they can’t do anything else with the foreign exchange they have already taken. People are facing great hardships, queuing up at petrol pumps, there was not enough change at railway stations despite them accepting the 500 and 1000 bills. The government’s step to curtail black money is much appreciated, but I think it should have been better managed and the steps taken by the government shouldn’t have affected the normal people so much. We also have our hospitals and since the concession of accepting the larger denominations is only in government hospitals, private hospitals like us had to treat people for free.

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Close to one billion international tourists between Jan-Sept 2016

India has recorded a 16 per cent increase in international tourism expenditure during the first three to nine months of 2016. Destinations around the world welcomed 956 million international tourists between January and September 2016, according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. This is 34 million more than in the same period of 2015, a 4 per cent increase. Among the top five source markets, China, the world’s top source market, continues to drive demand, reporting double-digit growth in spending (+19%). Likewise, robust results come from the United States (+9%), which benefited many destinations in the Americas and beyond. Germany reported a 5% increase in expenditure, the United Kingdom, a 10% increase, and France, 3% growth. Demand for international tourism remained robust in the first nine months of 2016, though growing at a somewhat more moderate pace. After a strong start of the year, growth was slower in the second quarter of 2016 to pick up again in the third quarter of the year. While most destinations report encouraging results, others continue to struggle with the impact of negative events, either in their country or in their region. Tourism spending grew notably in Australia and the Republic of Korea (both +9%), and moderately in Italy (+3%). By contrast, expenditure from the Russian Federation declined 37% and from Canada a slight 2%. Beyond the top 10, eight other markets reported double-digit growth: Egypt (+38%), Argentina (+27%), Spain (+19%), India (+16%), Thailand (+15%), Ukraine (+15%), Ireland (+12%) and Norway (+11%). “Tourism is one of the most resilient and fastest-growing economic sectors but it is also very sensitive to risks, both actual and perceived. As such, the sector must continue to work …

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Wesgro, PATA’s newest member

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) welcomed Wesgro from South Africa as its newest government member. It is the official Tourism, Trade & Investment Promotion Agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape. The announcement was made by Dr. Mario Hardy,  CEO,  PATA at the Association’s annual Aligned Advocacy Dinner in London, UK on Monday November 7, 2016 where the guests included Inge Dykman, Head of Leisure Tourism and Trade, Wesgro. Their aim is to promote the city and its five surrounding regions: the Cape West Coast, Cape Overberg, Cape Karoo, Garden Route & Klein Karoo and the Cape Winelands to the domestic and international markets. “As PATA continues to strengthen the tourism links between the continent of Africa and the Asia Pacific region we remain committed to helping destinations in Africa attract greater numbers of international visitors,” said Dr. Hardy. “Wesgro will surely benefit from our in-depth research and insights, human capital development programmes and our busy calendar of conferences and marts as they look to develop a responsible, sustainable and profitable destination.” Tim Harris, CEO, Wesgro said, “The Asian market is extremely important and valuable for Cape Town and the Western Cape’s tourism, trade and investment strategy. PATA provides an excellent platform for us to directly engage key stakeholders in this market, learn from them and make Cape Town and the Western Cape a more attractive and accessible destination for them.”

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