Category Archives: Associations

Free UAE visa for TAAI Convention delegates

The Abu Dhabi Tourism & Cultural Authority (TCA) along with the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) has decided to offer free UAE visas to registered delegates attending the Indian Travel Congress and 63rd Convention and Exhibition of TAAI being held in Abu Dhabi from October 14-17, 2016. TCA will offer two nights pre- and two nights post-tours to delegates in Abu dhabi/Al Ain/Sadayat Island and Yas island. The theme for this year’s convention is “Tomorrow Begins Now – Rise above the routine”. The National Managing Committee from TAAI is currently in Abu Dhabi to iron out the details.

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PATA upgrades website with universal accessibility

On the occasion of World Tourism Day 2016, under the theme of ‘Tourism for All – Promoting Universal Accessibility’, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) relaunched www.PATA.org designed with greater ease for those with hearing impairments, colour blindness and physical disabilities. “As we recognise and celebrate the vital contribution that travel and tourism contributes to the world, both socially and economically, we understand that both the public and private sector must share the responsibility in affording all people the opportunities of experiencing the incredible beauty and diversity of our world, regardless of race, colour, religion, gender, age and disability,” said PATA CEO Dr. Mario Hardy. “We have taken the first steps in making sure all people may access the valuable information and insights available on our website and we hope to be an example for other organisations to follow.” Using guidelines provided by the World Wide Web Consortium, the redesigned website provides greater ease for those with hearing impairments, colour blindness and physical disabilities. New features added to the website allow screen reading software to read all content of the website, enable a reduction in required physical motion to navigate, reduces contrast of colours for better reading and allow for the easy adjustment of text size. Dr. Hardy added, “We hope to bring greater knowledge of this issue and we will continue to look for avenues to incorporate them within our advocacy messages and activities.”

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C.B. Ramkumar appointed to Global Sustainable Tourism Council Board

C.B. Ramkumar, India Country Representative, Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), has now been appointed to the GSTC Board, along with two new members: Dr. Rosemary Black and Dr. Ioannis Pappas; and three returning board members: Dr. Kelly Bricker, Chi Lo, and Melinda Watt. Ramkumar said, “The game-changing potential for the GSTC standards to tourism in India matches the development agenda of the Indian government and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN. The conversations around tourism in general and sustainable tourism in specific should now shift. The tourism sector with its immense potential for employment generation, skill building, and adding to the GDP of the nation, needs an institutional framework for sustainable development, and GSTC provides this.” His appointment as the country representative for India will provide GSTC with a platform to work closer with a vast country like India, which has a demographic advantage with its youth, who now need to be provided with sustainable employment opportunities. Suman Billa, Joint Secretary of India Ministry of Tourism, said, “Guiding tourism on to sustainable platforms is an important imperative for India. We have beautiful destinations, hotels and resorts across the country. We are in the process of setting up an institutional framework and structure to facilitate this. With C.B. Ramkumar becoming a Board member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, I am confident that India’s efforts towards this would be suitably augmented. We look forward to working with the GSTC.” Ramkumar has been an active GSTC member, serving formerly on the GSTC Election Committee. He has also been appointed as the Chair for the Training & Education Working group and the Lead Trainer for South Asia.

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51st FHRAI Convention begins in Indore

The 51st FHRAI Annual Convention kicked off at the Amber Convention Centre in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. The event was inaugurated by Vishvas Sarang, Minister (I/C) for Cooperation, Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief & Rehabilitation, Panchayat & Rural development, Malini Laxman Singh Gaur, Mayor of Indore; Vivek Nair, Chairman, Convention Organizing Committee, FHRAI and Bharat Malkani, President, FHRAI. Radisson Blu Hotel Indore is the venue for all the business sessions which will be conducted on September 23 and 24, 2016, and the FHRAI awards will be held on Sept 24, 2016, at the Amber Convention Centre. The theme for the convention ‘Brand India’ is inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision based on the 5T’s – Talent, Tradition, Tourism, Trade and Technology. The convention logo brings together the symbol of a flaming torch and the welcome gesture of ‘Namaste’. Welcoming all participants at the convention, Nair said that there is a need to create infrastructure to boost tourism in the country. He also said that GST should be relooked at a reasonable limit. Malkhani noted that FHRAI completed six decades of existence and the focus of the organisation is on skill development. The association has institued a study with the National Green Tribunal to bring out a book to run properties in a sustainable manner, which will be given to its members free of cost.

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TravTalk honoured at IATO Convention

The Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) honoured TravTalk with the ‘Best Pre-printed Dailies’ award at its 32nd convention held from September 18-20, 2016, at the ITC Grand Chola, Chennai. The magazine was conferred the honour by Thiru. Pandiarajan K, Minister for School Education and Sports and Youth Welfare (responsible for Archaeology), Govt. of Tamil Nadu. TravTalk is a product of DDP Publications and has been providing the travel industry with news and updates for more than 25 years.

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OTOAI touches 407 member mark

The Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI) has crossed the 400 members mark till now and is aiming at 30 per cent growth in membership. The association that 407 registered members called on them to stand united on the issue of Goods and Services Tax (GST). “We would like to stand together for GST. I would request all our members to come together and make suggestions regarding that. We don’t have much time in hand for this and GST is a big deal,” said Guldeep Singh Sahni, President, OTOAI, said during the 4th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of OTOAI. The main agenda of the AGM was to present the accounts for this year.  The association also discussed that it is going to work closely with its partner DMCs and NTOs. Sahni said, “We will try to benefit our partner NTOs and enhance their product development for our customers.”

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1,200 agents register for IATA workshop in 16 cities

Around 1,200 agents have registered for the IATA workshop on the IBSP billing system that is being jointly conducted by the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) and the Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) in co-ordination with IATA. The workshop which started from Delhi from September 14 will be held in 16 chapters across India until September 29, 2016. This will not just be for its members but for all IATA agents as well. These three-hour sessions aim to improve the participant’s overall understanding about the latest development and impending changes in the billing and settlement reports used in BSP. BSP India is scheduled to migrate its billing software to IATA’s single global software – IBSPs. This joint effort is aimed at getting all IATA-accredited agencies in India to get familiar with the new BSP reports.

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32nd IATO Convention begins in Chennai

The 32nd IATO Convention was inaugurated in Chennai today in the presence of Vinod Zutshi, Secretary-Tourism, Government of India, T.K. Ramachandran, Principal Secretary-Tourism, Culture, & Religious Endowments Department, Ministry of Tourism, Government of Tamil Nadu, Thiru. Pandiarajan K, Ministry of School Education and Sports and Youth Welfare (responsible for archaeology), Government of Tamil Nadu, Thiru. Vellamandi N. Natarajan, Tourism Minister, Government of Tamil Nadu, Ashok Chandra Panda, Tourism and Culture Minister, Government of Odisha, and senior IATO officials. Pronab Sarkar, President, IATO, thanked the VIPs and the Chief Minister for having the convention in Tamil Nadu. Sarkar said, “Tamil Nadu has all the ingredients to attract tourism. Tourism is one of the major engines of economic growth in the world and has exceeded the automotive and oil industry. We organise IATO Convention to allow members to get a first-hand experience of the States and educate them about the services and offerings. I hope after this convention, Tamil Nadu will experience the growth in tourism as well.”

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PHD promotes tourism through films

According to a PHDCII report, 35% of Bollywood films were shot in India during 2014-2016, while 45% were shot abroad and 20% were shot both in India and abroad. Some of the popular foreign destinations for Bollywood film shootings include England, Thailand, UAE, and South Africa. In order to leverage Film Tourism in India, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, organised a conference – Global Conference on Film Tourism-India: The Focal Hub – at The Lalit on September 16. Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and Minority Affairs (I/C), Government of India, graced the conference as the Chief Guest. “We look forward to new ideas so that film tourism gets a new direction in India and promotes tourism in the country,” said Dr. Mahesh Gupta, President, PHD Chamber. Prominent film directors like Madhur Bhandarkar and Prakash Jha, Ambassadors from various countries including Czech Republic, Poland, Turkey, Vietnam, Austria, Romania and Latvia, government officials and travel agents were also present at the conference. An extensive study on tourism was released at the event.

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