Category Archives: Associations

HRAWI organises seminar on direct taxes for members

The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) recently organised a seminar on direct taxes for its members in Mumbai. Addressed by Anil Harish, an expert in tax matters, the seminar enabled the hoteliers and restaurateurs to understand implications of the Union Budget, introduction of new policies, and the taxes levied among others. The seminar also specified the Government’s investment plans for allied sectors such as infrastructure, agriculture, education, and tourism, and discussed concerns regarding overlapping taxes. Dilip Datwani, President, HRAWI says, “Taxes form an important and integral part of any establishment. The seminar was conducted in order to brief our members and clarify their doubts on the proposed taxes in the Union Budget 2017-18 and its impact on the hospitality sector. Besides this, there were a lot of queries from the food and beverage operators regarding GST. The seminar in many ways proved to be an eye-opener for the attendees. We are glad to get such positive response from the members and plan to conduct more such seminars frequently in future.”

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ETAA conducts first agent meet in Hyderabad

Enterprising Travel Agents Association (ETAA) organised its first travel agent meet in Hyderabad on February 10, 2017, at Hotel Royalton. The event received an overwhelming response from its members and others from the travel trade. The event was attended by Carl Dantas, Chairman Emeritus, ETAA; Jagat Mehta, President, ETAA; Abhijit Khadilkar, National General Secretary, ETAA; Dipti Thakoor, National Jt. Secretary; Dharmesh Advani, Treasurer, ETAA, and M P Joy, South India Chapter Chairman. More than 70 travel agents from various associations attended the event from Hyderabad and other surrounding cities. There was a brief knowledge session by TrawellTag Cover-More conducted by renowned trainer Aman Koushik. The ETAA National Board and Regional Chapters are all gearing up to welcome members to its upcoming ETAA Convention at Leonia Resorts, Hyderabad from March 3-5, 2017.

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Domestic traffic growth undeterred by demonetisation: ICRA

According to ICRA, domestic air passenger traffic has been undeterred by demonetisation with a robust YoY growth of 24 per cent in December 2016. The growth was propelled by peak season demand along with prevalent low airfares due to intense competition. The traffic growth on international routes was however impacted slightly, with the industry reporting 7.7 per cent YoY growth during the month. Nevertheless, performance of Indian carriers on international routes was better than the industry, with 16.1 per cent growth in traffic. Domestic passenger traffic growth was healthy at 22.9 per cent during 9m FY2017. Anand Kulkarni, AVP and Associate Head, Corporate Sector Ratings, ICRA Limited, “ICRA has been emphasising on pressure on profitability of airlines operating in the country due to competitive environment and increasing aviation turbine fuel (ATF) prices in the current fiscal and the same has been reflected in decline in profitability of the listed airlines in Q3 FY2017. As per ICRA estimates, the fuel cost per ASKM (CASK) of the domestic aviation industry increased to Rs. 1.08 in December 2016 from a low of Rs. 0.82 in February 2016 and the same is expected to increase further in Q4 FY2017. Going forward, the profitability of the airlines would be negatively impacted in Q4 FY2017 as the airline yields continue to remain under pressure and the ATF prices maintain the uptrend. The ATF prices in February 2017 are ~50 per cent higher on YoY basis. Further, the capacity addition in the industry is expected to continue at a healthy pace given the proposed fleet expansion plans of various airlines.”

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ETAA forms East India Chapter

The Enterprising Travel Agents Association (ETAA) has expanded its reach and membership base with the formation of its East India chapter recently. The association organised its first event for its members in Eastern India on February 4, 2017 in Kolkata. Koushik Banerjee was announced as the interim Chairman for ETAA’s East India Chapter. The event received an overwhelming response from its members and others from the travel trade. Agents from as far as Siliguri were part of this event which was also well represented by other trade associations, SKAL being one of them. Also present were ETAA’s Chairman Emeritus, Karl Dantas; Jagat Mehta, President of ETAA; Chairman of Hospitality, Hotel & Tourism committee, Partha Chatterjee (Skal); and National Jt. Secretary, Dipti Thakoor. This was followed by a brief knowledge session by TrawellTag Cover-More which was conducted by renowned trainer, Aman Koushik and Rajesh Dutta, Director Strategy & Client Relationship. Jagat Mehta, President, ETAA, said, “The event was appreciated by all and it was a good kick-start to our new regional chapter for East India, making us a truly pan-India association with four regional chapters in North, South, West and East India.”

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UNWTO hails Kerala’s Responsible Tourism initiatives

Kerala’s award-winning ‘Responsible Tourism’ (RT) initiatives has come in for further recognition with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) describing them as a model for other destinations to replicate. The world’s foremost international tourism organisation also called for the development of closer ties between Kerala Tourism and UNWTO, emphasising the importance of further association to help take the message of sustainable tourism forward. In a recent meeting held at UNWTO headquarters in Madrid, Kerala Tourism Director, U.V. Jose presented a report on the RT campaigns – the heart of Kerala’s tourism story for nearly a decade – to Xu Jing, UNWTO Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific. The report contained details of the RT policies and practices implemented in the state and the campaign’s success in giving stakeholdership to local communities and empowering them economically through activities that prioritise cultural and ecological conservation.

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India’s domestic aviation market records highest growth in 2016

The domestic India market topped the growth chart for the second year in a row according to IATA’s full-year global passenger traffic results for 2016. Passenger volumes surged by 23.3 per cent in 2016 – twice as fast as the next fastest growing market, China. Although the trend slowed down due to demonetisation, airlines are scheduling strong flight frequency growth in 2017, which will translate into time savings for passengers and will have the same stimulatory impact on demand as a cut in fares. India recorded revenue passenger kilometre (RPK) expansion of 23.3 per cent and has been underpinned by additional routes and increasing flight frequencies. “Air travel was a good news story in 2016. Connectivity increased with the establishment of more than 700 new routes. And a $44 fall in average return fares helped to make air travel even more accessible. As a result, a record 3.7 billion passengers flew safely to their destination. Demand for air travel is still expanding. The challenge for governments is to work with the industry to meet that demand with infrastructure that can accommodate the growth, regulation that facilitates growth and taxes that don’t choke growth. If we can achieve that, there is plenty of potential for a safe, secure and sustainable aviation industry to create more jobs and increase prosperity,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO. Asia Pacific carriers recorded a demand increase of 8.3 per cent in 2016 compared to 2015, which was the second-fastest increase among the regions. This pace is considerably ahead of the five-year growth average of 6.9 per cent. Capacity rose 7.7 per cent, pushing up the load factor 0.4 percentage points to 78.6 …

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GBTA predicts 11.6% growth in business travel spending in 2017

Double digit business travel spending growth continues for India, despite fears of fallout from the country’s demonetisation efforts, according to the latest Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) BTI™ Outlook – India report. “India continues to position itself to become a world leader in business travel for decades to come,” said Gaurav Sundaram, GBTA India’s regional director. “Despite fears surrounding the demonetisation efforts, India saw a 10.9 percent growth in year-over-year business travel spending for the second quarter of 2016 – even higher than our last report projected.” The GBTA Foundation report forecasts 11.4 percent growth in business travel spending in 2016, followed by another 11.6 percent in 2017 – both increases over our previous forecast – reaching $36.8 billion USD. India continues to climb the world rankings of business travel markets, moving up five spots during the early 2000s to become the 10th largest global business travel market at the end of 2015. Forecasts predicted India would pass Brazil last year and will likely surpass both South Korea and Italy in 2017. GBTA projects India will become the 6th largest business travel market in the world by the end of 2019. GBTA forecasts domestic business travel spending will continue to grow at consistently high rates, 11.8 percent in 2017, reaching $33.8 billion USD. India’s international outbound (IOB) business travel spending has shown subdued growth in the 5-6 percent per year range. GBTA’s IOB forecast for 2016 has been revised upward from 3.1 percent projected previously to 5.4 percent. It seems commodity prices may have finally found their footing and bottomed out, and the brightening prospects for increased trade activity, especially with the oil-rich MENA region, should help to push IOB …

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Taxing outbound tourism will kill the industry

Guldeep Singh Sahni, President, OTOAI, says, “We were very disappointed with the budget, especially when the government has been talking about tourism being a major pillar of growth. I don’t understand how it cannot be important when budget is concerned, except for the fact that the passports can now be applied in the GPOs.” He took a poignant view on the taxation. “While this is a good move on one side, on the other hand taxing outbound tourism would make us less competitive than people sitting overseas. This will kill the industry, which is making 20 million people travelling outside India, which is not using infrastructure available across the country and still generating revenue,” he adds.

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Inbound sector completely ignored

Rajan Sehgal, Chairman, TAAI- Northern Chapter, has a stern opinion on Union Budget. “For the last so many years, there has been no mention of tourism. This time as well, tourism was mentioned only for two minutes. We cannot think of growth and promotion of tourism internationally without having our house in order. No monument in India is of international standard, and people only know of the Taj Mahal, which is the only monument we can sell, which too is not tourism friendly.” On how the Budget ignored the inbound sector, Sehgal says, “Tourism brings in foreign exchange as well as creates employment. Very cleverly, the government has seen outbound tourism where they have seen two crore people are travelling, and thus they should come in the tax bracket. But they have not emphasised on inbound, which would bring the foreign exchange. They are just trying to collect tax, but they have not understood the potential of tourism. We have to have direct interaction with the Prime Minister’s Office. Tourism needs to be a very easy industry, and the tax should be simplified in this sector. Other countries follow this and are booming.”

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Hotel industry let down by Budget

On hospitality failing to find a mention in Union Budget, Rajindera Kumar, EC Member-FHRAI, Former President FHRAI & HRANI, Working Director, Vivanta by Taj Ambassador, says, “The Budget spoke about every other sector except tourism which I feel is very upsetting as the matter of the fact is that anyone who comes to India or goes out from India, spends their maximum time under the ambit of tourism. The hotel industry too is very disappointed with this Union Budget. I have to say that running a hotel in not a joy anymore in today’s time.” Kumar raises some valid questions on FDI. “In case of FDI when the government can offer a single window clearance then why can’t the same be done for the hospitality industry? We can just hope to be an active part of the five Ts, with tourism being one of them under this government,” he asks.

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