Category Archives: Associations

‘TAFI’s online marketplace’ now live

The Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) has launched its online marketplace for members—TAFI Connect. Ashwani Sharma, Chapter Chairman, TAFI-North, said “TAFI Connect would be the online tool for members to conduct their business online with a huge inventory of hotels and packages. It would also allow them to do business with each other,” he added. Pranita Baveja, Founder & CEO, Traviate.com, showcased the features of TAFI Connect and even gave them a demo of the product. Members can now enroll themselves and be live on TAFI Connect to use its services and grow their businesses.  

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MoT bags PATA Gold Award for Marketing – Primary Government Destination

Winners of the 2019 PATA Grand and Gold Awards were recently revealed by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA). It has been announced that Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, will be presented the PATA Gold Award 2019 for Marketing – Primary Government Destination for its ‘Find the Incredible You’ campaign. The awards will be handed over at the 2019 PATA Gold Awards Dinner and Award Presentation in Nur-Sultan (Astana), Kazakhstan, during PATA Travel Mart 2019. This year’s awards attracted 197 entries from 78 organisations and individuals worldwide, and winners were selected by an independent judging committee. Dr. Mario Hardy, CEO, PATA, said, “On behalf of PATA, I would like to extend our warmest congratulations to all the 2019 Grand and Gold Award winners, as well as all of this year’s participants for their submissions. I look forward to celebrating the accomplishment of this year’s winners who truly represent the values of the Association in working towards a more responsible travel and tourism industry in the Asia Pacific region.”

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Job development via adventure tourism neglected: ATOAI

Capt. Swadesh Kumar, President, ATOAI, claims that they had high hopes from the government this time, but budget again disappoints. Nothing in there especially for the tourism industry. From our end, we have been having a lot of meetings with the government, and had also submitted a wishlist, but nothing has come of it. Adventure tourism is the future of job generation in India with many adventure activities possible in all parts of India, may that be the Himalayas, deserts or coastlines. It’s unfortunate that this has not been considered. The impetus on last mile connectivity through building 1.25 lakh kilometers of roads under PM Gram Sadak Yojna is a positive move. The only news in the tourism front stressed on development of 17 iconic tourism sites to be upgraded to world class levels to attract domestic as well as foreign tourists. The Prime Minister had identified that out of the Five pillars (Five Ts), ‘Tourism’ is one of the most important, and, in India, it aims to achieve greater heights and new milestones. But that is missing in this budget.

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Need relief from taxation:TAAI

Complementing the Finance Minister for her maiden budget, Sanjay Narula, Vice President, TAAI, says that more has been outlaid for infrastructure. “I appreciate the fact that FDI has been relaxed for aviation and surface transport has got impetus because if you don’t have good roads, the tourism doesn’t get a boost. In terms of tourism we expected more. On taxation there should have been some relief for the industry, which has not come,” he says.

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Taxation remains ambiguous: ADTOI

PP Khanna, President, ADTOI, says that while a lot of focus has been given to infrastructure in the Budget, not much has been done on tourism apart from development of 17 iconic sites. At the same time, I must appreciate the focus on railways which connects most of India domestically and that should really help boost domestic tourism, especially with the involvement of private players. Even the progress in Swachch Bharat Abhiyan is commendable and initiatives there are appreciated. The last mile connectivity gets a further boost with the upgradation of roads with an investment of 802.5 billion rupees. However, the safety part of adventure tourism for domestic tourists should have been looked into and enhancement of such facilities should happen. Taxation also needs to be looked into since not much clarity has been given to GST.

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GST still remains an issue: TAFI

Pradip Lulla, Acting President and VP, TAFI, believes that there are no sops in this year’s Budget to boost the travel industry. “I hope that GST on services provided by travel agents at 18 per cent will be reviewed. Further, corporate tax reduction to 25 percentage is only on turnover of Rs 400 crore which excludes most of us! Also, double taxation on our tour pricing has been having a cascading on our costs making us uncompetitive. I hope that the industry receives some relief from the GST Council in future,” he said.

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Tourism’s potential disregarded once again: OTOAI

Mahendra Vakharia, President, OTOAI, is disappointed with the Budget. He says, “It is very disappointing that this year’s Budget has not looked at the tourism industry in any area in spite of it being a subject very dear to the heart of our Prime Minister and in spite of the fact that the tourism industry is among the top five industries/sectors that contributes to the growth of the country’s GDP, creates employment, and generates foreign exchange. Truly, very sad and disappointing.”

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Hospitality plays a vital role, cannot be ignored: FHRAI

Voicing his opinion of the Union Budget, Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, Interim President, FHRAI, said, “The industry expectations were high but the Union Budget has neglected us completely and we are disappointed yet again. While the Govt. wants to give impetus to hospitality and tourism and our. PM has envisioned big things for the sector, there is no mention except for the 17 tourist-friendly spots which we welcome. We were expecting reforms in rate slabs of GST, Input Tax Credit and a definitive step to boost the domestic and inbound traffic. Hospitality plays a vital role in the growth of the economy therefore this sector cannot be ignored. It is one of the biggest contributors to GDP, taxes, Foreign Exchange and most importantly in generating employment. The success of Incredible India lies in managing its hospitality and tourism right and requires policy support.”

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Tourism not given its due, industry requests ignored: IATO

Pronab Sarkar, President, IATO, shared that there was again no focus on tourism in Union Budget 2019-20, except that the government re-emphasised on 17 iconic sites being developed into world-class tourist destinations, which has been taken forward from the last Budget. “However, we welcome the mentioning of simplifying of GST process and absorbing of charges on digital transactions, which will encourage digital transactions. We also welcome the government’s plan to restructure the national highways programme to create a network of highways for better connectivity, upgradation of 125,000 km of roads in next 5 years at a cost of 802.5 billion rupee, more focus on Swachh Bharat mission and expansion of Railway suburban networks which will boost tourism as with increased infrastructure, better road connectivity and clean India, foreign tourists will be attracted.” He added, “We have been requesting the Government  for rationalizing of GST on tourism and hospitality, exemption of GST on foreign exchange earnings by the tour operators and treating tourism industry as deemed exporters and extending all benefits to the tourism industry as are being given to physical exports of goods and reduction, in Tourists Visa Fee so that we can compete with our neighbouring countries on foreign tourists arrivals, which will not only help bring in more foreign exchange but also create new jobs. However, this all remains pending and we hope our requests will be considered by the GST Council and Finance Ministry will consider the importance of tourism industry in employment generation and contribution in economic growth of the country.”

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Disappointing for tourism, but good for infrastructure: FAITH

Sharing his views on the Union Budget, Subhash Goyal, Secretary General, FAITH, said, “As far as the Budget is concerned, there are very few things for tourism in it. One thing for the industry is inland waterways, which can also be used for tourism and second is development of iconic sites. Thirdly, the Government has again focused on aviation as well as on tax reduction for SMEs. However, overall there is no indication of any relief. The GST council might do something later, but nothing has been done for taxation on tourism to be five per cent and exemption on foreign exchange earnings. Overall, we are a little disappointed with the Budget. We still have to read the fine print, although from what we have seen, there are certain things regarding water and infrastructure, which are good. If they give infrastructure status to hotels and tour operators, it will be very good. What I don’t understand is to create employment, and the industry which gives the largest employment has not been given anything.”

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