Category Archives: Associations

Ramesh Marwah appointed UFTAA CEO

Ramesh Marwah has been appointed the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of United Federation of Travel Agents’ Associations (UFTAA) to better administer UFTAA and offer regular support to members. He will endeavour to create increased connect between members as well. This was informed by UFTAA to all its members through a formal circular. Commenting on his position, Marwah said, “I am very excited and proud to be a part of UFTAA-the illustrious global federation which is also celebrating its golden jubilee this year. Every initiative will be in the direction of retaining confidence of travel agency associations in UFTAA; making UFTAA a global platform for knowledge, learning and networking and also maintaining free flow of communication to ensure UFTAA remains first point of contact when any issue props up in any part of the industry worldwide.” He is a proven professional with about 40 years experience of serving in various leadership positions with reputed organisations including international airlines, Italian DMC, global OTAs, etc.

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MTDC, TAAI inaugurate Mumbai Darshan tours for seniors

Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) recently organised special Mumbai Darshan Tours for senior citizens on the occasion of Daan Utsav – the festival of giving week. This initiative was undertaken by MTDC along with the assistance of Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI). The Mumbai Darshan Tours was inaugurated at the hands of Swati Kale, General Manager, MTDC. The tour commenced from Dadar (East) and covered all the iconic places in Mumbai like Siddhivinayak Temple, Gateway of India, Mani Bhavan to name a few.

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23.2% growth in August for India’s domestic airline market

India’s domestic airline market has posted double-digit annual growth of 23.2 per cent in August, as reported by IATA. This comes with sizeable increase in real consumer spending and partly because airlines are adding airport-pairs and flight frequencies, which cuts journey times for passengers and has the same stimulatory effect on demand as a large cut in fares. Domestic air travel, on the whole, grew by 4.3 per cent year-on-year in August, with the three-speed market still evident. On the other hand, international traffic flown by Asia Pacific airlines, the second largest international region, rose by a solid 5.6 per cent year-on-year in August. But there are ongoing signs of Asian passengers being put off by terrorism in Europe since traffic on the Europe-Asia route grew by just 1.5 per cent year-on-year in July, and it remains the slowest growing of the ‘big-four’ international routes so far this year. Asian leisure travellers are also substituting to destinations closer to home: international traffic growth within Asia accelerated to a six month-high of 9.9 per cent year-on-year in July.

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International tourist arrivals up 4% in the first half of 2016

International tourist arrivals worldwide grew by 4 per cent between January and June 2016 compared to the same period last year. Destinations worldwide received 561 million international tourists (overnight visitors), 21 million more than in 2015, according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. Growth accelerated in Asia and the Pacific with international arrivals up 9% through June, driven by robust intraregional demand. Oceania (+10%) led growth, followed by North-East Asia, South-East Asia (both +9%) and South Asia (+7%). “Tourism has proven to be one of the most resilient economic sectors worldwide. It is creating jobs for millions, at a time when providing perspectives for a better future to people of all regions is one of our biggest challenges. But tourism is also creating bonds among people of all nations and backgrounds, bringing down stereotypes and fighting fear and distrust”, said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai. “Safety and security are key pillars of tourism development and we need to strengthen our common action to build a safe, secure and seamless travel framework. This is no time to build walls or point fingers; it is time to build an alliance based on a shared vision and a joint responsibility.” he added. China, the world’s top source market, continued to report double-digit growth in expenditure on international travel (+20% in the first quarter of 2016), benefiting destinations in the region and beyond. The United States, the world’s second largest market, increased expenditure on outbound travel by 8% through July, thanks to a strong currency. Third largest market, Germany, reported a 4% increase in expenditure through July. Other markets that showed robust demand for outbound travel in the first half of 2016 were Spain …

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Praveen Chugh elected as WTAAA Treasurer

Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) President Praveen Chugh has been elected as the Treasurer of World Travel Agents Associations Alliance (WTAAA) of which TAFI is a member. WTAAA held its Annual General Assembly and bi-annual Board meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, recently and elected a new board. The new WTAAA Chairman is Otto de Vries (CEO of Association of Southern African Travel Agents), and Mark Meader (Vice President of Industry Affairs American Society of Travel Agents) is the new Vice Chairman. WTAAA brings together 56 countries and represents more than 80 per cent of the BSP worldwide. WTAAA is a global voice for the travel agency distribution channel and regularly engages with IATA, UNWTO, WHO, Media, GDS, European Union, DOT and other regulators and bodies around the world. The mission of the World Travel Agents Associations Alliance (WTAAA) is to act as the global travel agency voice through the exchange of ideas and information. WTAAA members include the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA), Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA), Association of Brazilian Travel Agents (ABAV), European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Associations (ECTAA), Association of South African Travel Agents (ASATA), Travel Agency Federation of India (TAFI) and Travel Agents’ Association of New Zealand (TAANZ) Spanish Federation of Travel Agents (CEAV), Federation of Asean Travel Agencies (FATA).

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UFTAA finalises Istanbul as its 50th congress venue

In a show of solidarity to the tourism community, the United Federation of Travel Agents Associations (UFTAA) board has decided to stick to its original decision to have its Golden Jubilee Congress in Istanbul after reviewing the current situation. Sunil Kumar, President, UFTAA, said, “November 25 and 26, 2016, will witness the Golden Jubilee Congress of UFTAA in Istanbul. One of our most prime member associations, TURSAB, will be co-ordinating this event which is being supported by the Ministry of Tourism & Culture, Turkey. The Golden Jubilee Congress is anticipated to give UFTAA a huge push to its next level and since it is held in the most beautiful locales and hotels Turkey has to offer, it is anticipated that this will be a successful event.”  

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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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