Category Archives: Associations

TAFI to launch online B2B marketplace for members

The Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) has decided to launch an online B2B marketplace for its members. Sharing more details of this, Pradip Lulla, Vice President, TAFI, says, “We are coming up with an online platform for our members and it is already under construction. The idea is to have a marketplace where you can buy and also sell products. On the back end, we will tie up with suppliers – domestic and international. Initially, we will have more focus on accommodation including hotels and home-stays, and the airline products will follow. It will also have a payment gateway and we are talking to different companies for providing the payment solutions.” Speaking about the criteria for such a partner, Lulla adds that the cost for transactions should be lower and it should also be seamless with multiple options for payment. “The site is ready and we are only integrating the back end right now. It is not live yet. We will be releasing a beta version shortly to test it out and remove any bugs. Getting our members on it will take some time but we should have it active within two months. The members will need a login and password,” Lulla says. The name of the portal has not been finalised yet.

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TAAI unveils its digital empowerment initiative ‘TAAI Connect’

The Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) unveiled its new initiative on digital empowerment called TAAI Connect. This will support member agencies to encounter the fast evolving, challenging and demanding market scenario. TAAI Connect will enable agents to have their own website, combine their website with a booking platform integrated with their GDS and ticketing, connect the website with payment gateway linked with their own bank, a corporate booking tool and a mobile application to manage bookings through smartphones and many more services. TAAI has associated with TPConnects, a Dubai based technology company for TAAI Connect which will provide all technical support and integration. Speaking at the launch in Mumbai, Sunil Kumar, President, TAAI said, “TAAI Connect is a revolutionary initiative in the area of technology offering handholding and empowering travel agencies to go digital. A lot of online companies have lost money in creating the online platform rather than running it. Here the agents do not have to invest in technology and integration that TAAI is offering. This will also be available to non-IATA travel agents and non-TAAI agents while they would have to take up membership with TAAI. We will be working with all suppliers in the industry.”  

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4th OTOAI Convention kicks off in Cape Town

The Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI) inagurated its annual convention in Cape Town, South Africa on August 12. The four-day convention is themed on ‘Digitalisation – The Way Forward’. Speaking at the inaugural event, James Vos, Shadow Minister, Tourism South Africa, said, “It is a great opportunity for us to network and find out the best practices in the industry. Technology is an important part of the discussion and very relevant today. As a sector, tourism needs to become more resilient and sustainable. For every 12 international arrivals, we create one job for the domestic population. We welcomed more than 1 million conference delegates to South Africa in 2018. That shows the type of tourism infrastructure we can offer.” The association has also organised  pre- and post-familiarisation trips to two different locations – from Sun City to Johannesburg to Garden Route and Kruger National Park. This year is special for South Africa because 2018 marks the centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela with year-long celebrations being organised. OTOAI has held its past conventions in Manila, Bali and Ras Al-Khaimah.

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ADTOI elects new team for 2018-20

The Association of Domestic Tour Operators of India (ADTOI) held its biennial elections on August 11, 2018 and announced the new team for the 2018-20 period. The voting was conducted under the supervision of returning officer Harbans Singh, Retd Secretary, Election Commission. PP Khanna has been re-elected as the President, while Rajesh Arya was voted as Vice President for the association. Chetan Gupta was re-elected as General Secretary, Dalip Gupta as Treasurer and Anil K Rajput as Joint Secretary for the association.

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IATO gears up for 34th Annual Convention in Vizag

In an aim to update its members about the 34th Annual Convention set to be held from September 6-9, 2018, IATO recently hosted a luncheon meet at Le Meridien, New Delhi. The association felicitated Mukesh Kumar Meena, Secretary Tourism, Andhra Pradesh and Himanshu Shukla, CEO, Andhra Pradesh Tourism Authority. Convention Chairman Rajeev Mehra said, “We are getting close to our desired goal in meeting the required number of professionals of the trade from various parts of the country to make our 34th Annual Convention successful.” With the utmost support of Andhra Pradesh Tourism, IATO is confident of its convention. Meena, while addressing the members, said, “We are excited to be the hosts for IATO convention as we’ve been looking forward to it since 2016. We will also be hosting post tours for the delegation of about 200 or more.”

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Tourism PowerHouse discusses disruption in tourism

One of the major topics discussed at PATA India Chapter’s Tourism Powerhouse 2018 was ‘Enabling growth through disruptive tourism’. The session saw in attendance some of the stalwarts from Indian and international travel and technology sector. Moderating the session was Mario Hardy, CEO, PATA while the panelists included Jen Oreel, Founding CEO, Octotrip; Matthew Powell, Managing Director—MESA, Travelport; Sanjay Kumar, Former CCO, IndiGo and Paras Loomba, Founder, Global Himalayan Expedition. The panel discussed how the industry needs to cope up with different disrupting forces including start-ups, technology, etc by sharing real -time examples.  

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Millenials remain the buzzword

Oliver Martin, Partner, Twenty31 Consulting, presided over a session on ‘Winning the Millenial Traveller’ at PATA India Chapter’s Tourism PowerHouse 2018. He shared his insights on what millenials today are looking for and how the travel community should cater to their requirements. Martin claimed that the millennials are looking for adventure, activities and experience-based travel to a destination. He shared, “By 2030, we will have 2 billion international travellers on an international basis and it is a huge opportunity as well as a challenge for the industry.” He shared the trends on millennial travellers and said that today’s millennials are aware of what they are looking for and do take care of the environment and surroundings when they travel. “We are seeing an average growth of 9 per cent annually in the millennial market. That represents a share of 2 million travellers on an annual basis. The year 2017 was the first in the last 50 years that the boomer market declined and the millennial market increased. He said that this is the reason why the industry should focus on the millennial market,” said Martin.

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Digital marketing takes centrestage at PATA India’s Tourism PowerHouse

The second day of Tourism PowerHouse opened with a panel discussion on ‘Digital Marketing- Today’s Firepower’. Moderated by Jose Leon, President, Indigo Consulting, the session’s panelists included Nikhil Kumar, CEO & Co-Founder, TACT, Balaji Viswanath, Vice President—Digital Acquisition and Capabilities, American Express and Mario Hardy, CEO, PATA. The panelists discussed how content is the key factor to create unique stories for travellers across all mediums and how they are leveraging digital technology. They claimed that making unique stories for every state in India is crucial instead of every state promoting everything to travellers.

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Mario Hardy closes Tourism PowerHouse 2018 with inspiring address

Mario Hardy, CEO, PATA, presented the summary remarks at Tourism PowerHouse 2018— a PATA India initiative, held recently in New Delhi. Addressing the attendees at The Park, New Delhi, Hardy said, “We live in an uncertain and a very complex world. Things are changing at a phenomenal speed. We need to prepare ourselves for the disruptions in future. At Tourism Powerhouse, we have talked about the importance of local experiences and authenticity. The wealthiest of travellers are also looking for experiences and so are the millennials. Creating these unique experiences is a challenge that the travel industry is facing to remain in the business and to remain in the interest of these future travellers. Today, it is required to create memorable experiences that people want to share on social media as well as with friends and relatives, as they are the most trusted source of information on travel.” Insisting that the focus on experiences would be key to the growth that India needs to see in tourism, he said that the Tourism Powerhouse is a great initiative by PATA India Chapter and he hopes that it becomes a regular event.

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PATA India’s Tourism PowerHouse opens to august gathering

PATA India’s first-ever Tourism PowerHouse opened to a packed gathering on August 5, 2018, at The Park, New Delhi. The initiative is set to bring the minds of the tourism industry’s leadership together to help fully tap India’s tourism potential, in line with global best practices. The august gathering had in attendance Rashmi Verma, Secretary, Tourism, Government of India and Chairman, PATA India Chapter; Mario Hardy, CEO, PATA; John Koldowski, an international tourism research expert; Amit Thakran, Team Leader, Consulting & Research, CAPA; SanJeet, Vice Chairman, PATA India Chapter; Jatinder Taneja, Hony. Secretary, PATA India Chapter and Vikram Madhok, Hony. Treasurer, PATA India Chapter. At the event, Koldowski delivered the keynote address on ‘Tourism Trends & Opportunities’. He said, “India is perceived as the PowerHouse of South Asia tourism. According to UNWTO data, the numbers in terms of international tourist arrivals into Asia between 200o and 2017, have climbed dramatically.” Hardy spoke about the impact of the visitor economy. He said, “India has a phenomenal history. A better way to market the country is to have people of India telling stories. We are experiencing phenomenal growth in travel and tourism. Around 1.3 billion people have crossed borders and the number is increasing still. But, are we prepared for continuous growth?” He added, “By 2050, there will be 11 billion people living on this planet. Think of the implication of this – the infrastructure requirement for the 80 per cent living in the city. We, at PATA, are transforming our organisation for it to become more about thought leadership. Where does India want to be in 50 years from now? It is about the type of tourist you want to have in …

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