Category Archives: Associations

PATA conducts 5th Update and Outlook Meeting with MOT & Air India

PATA India Chapter’s meeting with the Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India and Air India discussed initiatives for the upcoming year and also highlighted the past year’s achievements. Vinod Zutshi, Secretary-Tourism, Govt. of India, was optimistic about tourism’s prospects for 2017 and shared, “We have been exceeding the global growth of tourism and have marked stuck to our target of 10 per cent growth on an average for this year. Not only have we seen a drastic increase in international tourist arrivals, the domestic sector is equally flourishing. From 30-40 per cent growth in 2015, we are expecting the domestic tourism growth to touch around 60-70 per cent.” Zutshi also mentioned that the 1363 helpline which was launched in mid November 2015, receives around 4000 queries per week, up from 1000 per week, and revealed that suggestions received from pre-budgetary sessions would help yield a favourable budget. Ashwani Lohani, CMD, Air India, stated that expansions and consolidation for the national carrier will go hand-in-hand, with plans to add atleast 13 new destinations afoot. “We will be launching a minimum of six new routes in 2017 and about six more in 2018. The whole idea is to add 100 new aircrafts by 2020 and to convert the existing fleet into a relatively newer one. “2017 will also focus on turning profits for Alliance Air along with the rapid expansion of Air India’s fleet and number of destinations,” he added.

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IAAI’s portal to enable agents to become consolidators

In an effort to safeguard the interests of its members from the prevailing challenging market conditions and present them with a new revenue model, the IATA Agents Association of India (IAAI) will launch an exclusive portal that will enable each of its members to become a consolidator. Titled ‘I-TOP’ which stands for Indian Travel Agents Own Portal, the program will be launched shortly. This was announced at its Annual General Body Meeting of IAAI Maharashtra State unit held in Mumbai recently. Biji Eapen, National President, IAAI National Board, said, “It is a first portal of its kind in the history of the aviation world created solely for the agents, by the agents. It has sophisticated technology and enhanced innovative processing modules. It has been enriched with facilities for the user to work as an individual or a consolidator and operate through GDS platforms and also the internet to meet the present challenges and competitions in the Industry with B2B, B2C and B2D facilities including the new NDC process.”

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FICCI summit to help travel start-ups

As part of its mandate to further enhance India’s digital drive in the travel and tourism industry, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) launches its maiden initiative aimed at travel start-ups. ‘Travel Tech Launchpad’ will be a platform that encourages innovation and growth of travel start-ups and will be set up during the second edition of FICCI’s event titled ‘Digital Travel, Hospitality and Innovation Summit’ to be held on March 22-23, 2017 in New Delhi. The summit content has been developed to enhance the potency of travel start-ups, digital tourism and IT-based infrastructure development for the travel and hospitality sector. ‘Travel Tech Launchpad 2017’ is being organised by FICCI in association with Agnitio Consulting LLP, Nucleus Partners, and Charson Advisory. The summit will offer an opportunity for travel startups to learn from experts in the field of travel, exhibit their business ideas, and display their products & services in addition to providing a unique opportunity to connect with right set of ecosystem partners. A number of travel start-ups, hospitality and technology companies from across India and abroad will gather during the summit in addition to the participation of leading investors such as Sequoia, Inventus Capital, Kae Capital and several angel / venture capital firms.

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OTOAI member’s meet in Ahmedabad for the first time

The Outbound Tour Operators’ Association of India (OTOAI) held its member’s meet in Ahmedabad for the first time on December 21, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in the city. Attended by 90 invited guests, sponsors, and office bearers of OTOAI and the agenda for the meet was to introduce OTOAI to the tourism industry in the city,  use it as a networking event with Members of OTOAI and non members, with intention to increase the membership base in the state, informed Mahendra Vakharia, Chairman – Western Chapter, OTOAI. Apart from the networking, they had also included interesting mix of destination, product presentation and presentation by a professional GST expert, on the implications of GST in the industry. Guldeep Sahni, President, OTOAI and Riaz Munshi, Vice President, OTOAI, were also present at the meet.

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Skål Asian Area Congress in Bahrain from May 12-15

Skål Asian Area has confirmed the program for its 2017 Annual Congress and General Assembly which will take place in Bahrain from May 12 to 15, 2017 at Gulf Hotel in Manama. The Chief Executive of the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibition Authority, Sheikh Khalid Bin Humood Al Khalifa, has been invited to make the opening address. Keynote addresses are also expected from local tourism industry executives representing such organisations as the Bahrain Economic Development Board, the Bahrain Airport Company, Sabre and SITA. Arun Raghavan, Asian Area Secretary, Skål International, stressed the value of the delegate packages. He said, “We have worked hard on the Congress package pricing to attract high numbers of delegates from our member clubs ensure maximum value and return. The packages are competitively priced and represent remarkable value. The 2017 Congress in Bahrain presents a fantastic opportunity to meet and network with fellow industry professionals.” Early bird discounts on the total registration package are available for a limited period. Delegates have the option of staying at the Gulf Hotel, K-Hotel and Ramada Bahrain hotels in Manama city. Bahrain’s national carrier Gulf Air has pledged to provide a 30 per cent discount on air fares for all delegates. Robert Sohn, Skål Asian Area President, said, “The Skål Club in the Kingdom of Bahrain has done an amazing job in developing at this early stage the programme for our 2017 Congress and General Assembly. I pay tribute to Skål Bahrain President Mohamed Buzizi and his committee for their fantastic achievement. I am looking forward to welcoming to Bahrain David Fisher – the newly-elected President of Skål International – and Skål members from clubs across the Asia Pacific region.”

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Rajeev Jalnapurkar to represent India in IAAPA

The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), Virginia USA, has inducted Rajeev Jalnapurkar, Chief Executive Officer, Ramoji Film City, into its Asia Pacific Government Relations Subcommittee. IAAPA represents facility, supplier, and individual members from 99 countries and Jalnapurkar would be serving the committee for the year 2017. Jalnapurkar brings with him a rich experience of 20 years in the field of theme parks and amusement industry and is also the only Indian to be selected for this prestigious position. He is the Director of IAAPI and Education Subcommittee of Education at Asia. “India offers a tremendous opportunity to increase the number of amusement destinations. Beyond the metro cities amusement parks are accessible to a much larger community. With this objective we aim to work with the national/ state governments to create much better entertainment avenues for the people. I am honored to be a part of IAAPA and hope that I will be able to contribute to its mission,” said Jalnapurkar. In 2017, the Asia Pacific Government Relations Subcommittee will world towards creating an advocacy effort that supports key global, regional and local initiatives. It will also formulate a three-year tactical plan to increase understanding and awareness of the amusement parks and attractions industry in Asia Pacific region.

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ETAA Domestic Convention from March 3-5 in Hyderabad

The Enterprising Travel Agents Association (ETAA) of non-IATA travel agents has announced its second Domestic Convention to be held at Leonia Resorts, Hyderabad from March 3 to 5, 2017. Jagat Mehta, President, ETAA, said, “With a tourism focused government, we as a leading trade association decided to do our bit in promoting our country by announcing a Domestic Convention this year specially in the newly crafted and youngest state of Telangana. We expect over 250 of our members from across the country to attend the same owing to capacity constraints. The convention will provide a perfect setting for enhancing destination and product knowledge about the state and the resort and will also present excellent networking opportunity among the members and the suppliers and exhibitors who participate at the convention during the planned B2B sessions.” The association plans to expand its footprints with an East India Chapter in the near future.

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Capt. Swadesh Kumar is ATOAI President for 2016-18

Adventure Tour Operators Association of India (ATOAI) has elected Captain Swadesh Kumar, Managing Director, Shikhar Travels India, as President for 2016-18. The office bearers were elected unopposed. Ajeet Bajaj, Managing Director, Snow Leopard Adventures is the new Senior Vice President; Tejbir Singh Anand, Managing Director, Holiday Moods Adventures has been elected as Vice President; Rajesh Ojha, Co-founder, Banjara Camps and Retreats is the new Secretary while the position of Honorary Secretary will be held by Vaibhav Kala, Founder, Aquaterra Adventures. “The association will shift its trajectory from Himalayan centric to a pan-India focus for adventure tourism. Since around 22 million Indian travellers go abroad to experience adventure holidays, we plan to involve international members into the association and also focus on outbound segment of travel for adventure tourism,” says Kumar. The elected Executive Committee members are Mohan Tickoo, Managing Director, Kash Venture Travels; Sanjay Basu, Managing Director, Far Horizon Tours; Vishwas Makhija, Managing Director, India Insight Tours; Shashank Gupta, Director, Rucksack Tours; Vinayak Koul, Director, Snow Lion Expeditions and Akshay Kumar, CEO, Mercury Himalayan Exploration, who is also the Immediate Past President.

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MOT allows bulk purchase of monument tickets in Agra

Tourism Minister (I/C) Dr. Mahesh Sharma has given directives to allow purchase of monument tickets in Agra in bulk with payments through Demand Draft with immediate effect. The Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) had urged the Ministry of Tourism and ASI to suggest alternatives regarding purchase of ASI Monument tickets after December 15, 2016. As for all the other monuments, tickets are available for purchase online, except for some monuments in Agra, especially Fatehpur Sikri, Agra Fort and Itimad-ul-Daula’s Tomb. Also, there will not be any passport details required for bulk purchase, revealed Pronab Sarkar, President, IATO. He added that installation of Debit/Credit Card swipe machines at the monuments are also being explored.

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OTOAI Turkey Educon from March 12-15, 2017

The Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI) is conducting the Turkey Mega Educon Programme with Turkish Indian Tourism Council (TITC) from March 12 to 15, 2017, in Istanbul. The pre tour programme will be held from March 9-12 in Turkey. The main Istanbul programme would include the destination training and meetings with local suppliers. March 15 to 18, will be the post tour programme in Turkey. The pre and post tour destinations proposed are a selection from 4 cities – Antalya, Cappadocia, Izmir-Kusadas, Pamukkale, and Bodrum-Marmaris-Fethiye. TITC will also be arranging with the Turkish Embassy and its consulate in India to assist the OTOAI members for their visas ex New Delhi and Mumbai. The deadline for application for OTOAI members is December 19, 2016.

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