Category Archives: Associations

India on way to become 3rd largest aviation market by 2020

The FICCI-KPMG ‘India Aviation Report 2016’, launched at the civil aviation exposition in Hyderabad, reveals that with 81 million trips, India’s domestic aviation market grew at over 20.3% during January to December 2015-the highest growth rate recorded in the world. It further said that India is well on its way to become the third largest aviation market by 2020, owing to increasing disposable incomes, fall in prices of Aircraft Turbine Fuel (ATF), increase in tourism, visa reforms, etc. have placed India in a unique position. This is bringing the country closer to achieving its vision of becoming the largest aviation market by 2030. The report highlights that the National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP 2016) is likely to provide a significant fillip to the industry. The various fiscal and monetary incentives, liberal policies focused on ‘ease of doing business’ and enhanced push for regional and global connectivity are extremely positive. Steps taken to revive and operationalise around 160 airports in India, if chosen carefully, will improve air connectivity to regional and remote areas. Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) in the sector will get substantial support from the state in terms of financing, concessional land allotment, tax holidays and other incentives. The report strongly suggests that in order to ensure high-geared growth, it is imperative to broaden the base of domestic flyers through greater air connectivity in Tier 2/3 cities. Many Indian states have taken positive initiatives, largely in the field of development of airports, reduction in sales tax rates on ATF and direct subsidy to airlines for improvement of connectivity. The government and industry are engaged closely in addressing the various opportunities and challenges in the aviation sector; and that’s a welcome sign. …

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240 delegates expected at OTOAI Convention

Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI) is all geared up for its Convention to be held from March 17-21, 2016 in Bali, Indonesia. Riaz Munshi, Convention Chairman, OTOAI, says, “We are expecting around 240 delegates. We have booked close to 220 tickets from India and we also have people coming from Singapore, The Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia.” Though the names of the panelists at the Convention have not been disclosed yet, Munshi informs that the business sessions are going to be informative with panel discussions on the current scenario of the market and the dynamic changes taking place in it.

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PATA B2B Meet in USA

PATA India Chapter, in collaboration with Ministry of Tourism, will be conducting a India Tourism B2B Meet to West Coast America from May 24 to June 1, 2016. Runeep Sangha, Executive Director, PATA India Chapter, informs, “Our proposal for this initiative has been approved by Ministry of Tourism. The focus of this event is to promote inbound tourism from important source markets for India. Meetings are proposed to be held with travel agents & tours operators in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Vancouver & Seattle. All these markets have a variety of travellers representing both, high end as well as mid market. Their interest in India as a preferred destination is well established over many years and is focused on our history, culture, wellness, beach tourism amongst others.” Roadshows will commence with a introductions and a 20 minute Incredible India presentation, followed by a two hour B2B session between Indian sellers and local tour operators & travel agents in each market. Tentative Programme Detailed itinerary is as follows: 1. May 24 -San Francisco 2. May 25 – Los Angeles (Orange County) 3. May 26 – Los Angeles (Beverly Hills) 4. May 31 – Vancouver 5. June 1 – Seattle Participation Fees For PATA Members participation fee is as follows: 1st Delegate: Rs. 57,500.00 + 14.5% Government Service Tax 2nd Delegate: Rs. 45,000.00 + 14.5% Government Service Tax For non PATA Members, the registration fee is as follows: Delegate fee: Rs. 67,500.00 + 14.5% Government Service Tax Air India will be support PATA India with preferred air fares for delegates participating in these roadshows. 100% of the basic fare will be waived on each ticket as per the applicable booking class for …

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Rwanda: TAFI’s next convention venue?

After signing an MoU with Rwanda recently to promote bilateral tourism from and into India, the Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) might also be looking at it as the venue for its upcoming annual convention that will be held in August or September of this year. As part of the protocol, it is in talks with a couple of destinations for this and one of them is Rwanda, hints Zakkir Ahmed, President of TAFI. “We will be able to announce the destination only by March end or early April. Our MoU with Rwanda includes not just outbound but inbound as well. It is not very well-known to tourists in India. So we will help them do some promotions through our members and familiarization tours. If possible, we will also do our convention there,” he says.

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Tragedy for Tourism to be left behind

Highly dissatisfied with the Union Budget,  Sunil Kumar, President, Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), says tourism has been again been put on the back burner. “It is a big tragedy for an industry that has so much to offer many countries of the world. Wonder when India will consider this industry as an important economic success strategy.” Kumar reiterates that the budget does not meet up to the expectations of the industry, which has been projecting innovation with wide reforms and a more dynamic India. “There were expectations on Service Tax reliefs; boost to tourism sector; incentives for foreign exchange earnings, and these appear to have missed out. The income tax relief should have been on most classes, but is only done for lower slabs. The focus on Voluntary Disclosure is not too strategic and may not yield good results. Whatever must happen in the areas of travel, tourism and aviation, will not be dependent on this budget at all. In fact, the new 0.5% cess is going to add liability to all. The new budget has hardly any positive impact on our industry, which is sad,” he says. “For Travel industry to grow, especially during a time when the challenges are too many and the industry does require a boost, government must address the issues concerned, including sustainability. For this industry being a very large employer of people and generator of huge revenues for government in the form of taxes, government’s attention is rather disappointing,” Kumar added. Unless the government firmly reviews the challenges of all stakeholders in this industry, it will not be able to support the growth that is available in plenty. The TAAI President says …

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Nothing substantial for tourism

Guldeep Singh Sahni, President, Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI), says the only positive point in the Budget is making non-functional airports operational. “It is a very neutral budget, and there is nothing in it for the tourism industry. The only positive point is that the government is considering making non-functional airports operational, which would give a boost to inbound tourism. However, nothing substantial is there for the travel industry,” he says.

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A ray of hope for domestic tourism

Rajan Sehgal, President (Northern Region), Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), said, “There is hardly anything for the travel industry in this budget. The only positive thing in this Budget is that the Finance Minister has addressed the connectivity issue by saying that there are 160 airstrips in India which can be developed. Many small destinations are not easily accessible for tourists and this announcement would give fillip to domestic tourism. We are still waiting for more details. However, there is no direct mention of anything positive for the tourism industry.”

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Economic growth will boost tourism

Commenting on the General Budget 2016-17, Jyotsna Suri, immediate past president of FICCI, said, “Nothing for tourism this year, is it something new? Overall the budget this year was on infrastructure, rural development and spending on buildings. That is what is the need of the hour. This is going to increase the economy and that will somehow affect tourism altogether. Though we didn’t have much for tourism this time like last year I think if economy grows tourism will grow.”

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Minimal focus on aviation

Expressing disatisfaction over the Budget ’16, Conrad Clifford, Regional Vice President, Asia Pacific, International Air Transport Association (IATA), said, “The budget had a minimal focus on aviation. We hope the government will do a better job with the National Civil Aviation Policy. While the NCAP is a step in the right direction, there are areas of concern, especially where it adds costs to the industry or where it deviates from well-established global standards. We hope the government will address three priority areas – retract the 2 per cent Regional Connectivity Fund levy, abandon the plan to auction traffic rights, and allow AERA to perform its functions independently by not enshrining any ‘Till’ for airport charges in the Policy document.”

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Tax plagued tourism industry, ignored

Jyoti Kapur, President, ADTOI, says, “With the Finance Minister talking about old airstrips to be developed, we believe that it would result in boosting domestic and inbound tourism. With the Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat scheme, now in full swing the connectivity to remote areas will increase, and it looks like a positive approach for attracting tourists to destinations in India beyond just pilgrimage sites. Also, in the budget, the government has sanctioned a huge amount for developing infrastructure and Swacch Bharat, and we believe that this too will boost tourism within the country. Cleanliness is a huge issue in India and if that is tackled, it will do wonders for tourism. It is still to be seen how the government is going to initiate these programs. However, since nothing has been done about the taxes plaguing the industry, we are a bit disappointed. Domestic tourism in India is suffering despite the rupee being weak, owing to poor infrastructure, higher taxes and connectivity. While two of these things have been addressed, we would’ve been happier had the taxes been rationalised.

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