Category Archives: Associations

Travel trade associations meet Tourism Minister seeking support and financial help

A combined united delegation of four travel trade associations (IATO, ADTOI, ATOAI and OTOAI) led by IATO President Pronab Sarkar met the Tourism Minister, Prahlad Singh Patel in Delhi to discuss various grievances faced by tour operators amid ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The minister heard out the delegation at length and also addressed issues individually faced by the associations. The Minister has assured all possible support and said the ministry has already reached out to the Finance Minister for industry-specific relief. Associations representatives felt content after the meeting and expressed gratitude to the Minister for giving them a patient hearing. The Minister has called out for a united stand of the industry to fight the pandemic and overcome all the challenges. Apart from the President, Rajiv Mehra, Vice President represented IATO while, heads of other associations, Captain Swadesh Kumar, PP Khanna and Riaz Munshi represented ATOAI, ADTOI and OTOAI. From the ministry, Rakesh Sharma, Joint Secretary, MOT and Meenakshi Sharma, DG, Tourism were present during the meeting.

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FAITH proposes six-step Tourism Aid & Restructuring Package (TARP) to government

The Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality (FAITH) has proposed a Tourism Aid & Restructuring (TARP) Package to the Tourism Minister to seek specific measures for Indian Tourism from the Prime Minister and from the Finance Minister. In a document released by FAITH, the association shares that TARP is a comprehensive six steps plan, which addresses both supply and demand measures. The association released the six-step guideline after the tourism industry did not find any mention in the stimulus package announced by the Government. The six steps, in brief, are: Tourism Fund, Option of a Drawdown against Income Tax & GST, Tourism Tax & Statutory Holiday for FY 2020-21, RBI Support, Specific stimulus to different segments of Indian tourism, Agenda for National Tourism Task Force

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TAFI writes to airlines seeking clarification on ticket refunds for booking post 25th May

Pradeep Lulla, Acting President and VP, TAFI, has said that the association has reached out to all the domestic airlines seeking clarification on air ticket refunds for bookings made for travel from 25th May 2020. This comes after the government decided to resume limited domestic flight operations around the country. Lulla said that since certain conditional clarifications are not mentioned by the airlines, they have written to airlines for matters concerning tour operators. He also said that TAFI’s petition on airline refunds in Supreme Court will come up for hearing probably in the next 10 days.

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Inbound Tourism is not going to start in 2020 in absence of vaccination: IATO

In a letter to all its members, the President of IATO has said that inbound tourism is not going to start in 2020 in the absence of a vaccination. Pronab Sarkar in the letter also said that the association seeks ideas from members on how they look at survival in individual capacity if there is no support from the Government. For the learning of other members from these ideas, IATO is looking forward to suggestions from everyone. Once inputs are received, IATO will call an all members Zoom meeting for members’ inputs and discuss the way forward. The association will communicate the date and time of members Webinar once it receives inputs and ideas by Wednesday, 27th May 2020 evening.

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TAAI hopeful for Government support, asks MoCA to set up Aviation Task Force

Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) has written again to the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Finance, regarding concerns of the industry and urging for a stimulus package and schemes of the Government, which was not included in the package announced by the Ministry of Finance. Jyoti Mayal, President, TAAI, also revealed that they have asked MoCA to make an aviation task force which includes the travel agent community, so that they can be put their issues and ideas at the forefront.

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NIMA tying up with local trade associations in states, will not create its own state chapters

Network of Indian M!CE Agents (NIMA) will not be creating its own state chapters, but instead would partner with other local trade bodies and associations in every state and promote M!CE tourism with them. Jagdeep Bhagat, National Coordinator,  NIMA and CEO of Vee Bee Tours & Travels, said, “Instead of creating state chapters for our association, we will be partnering with the local state associations. The local state bodies are already there and our core objective is to develop the state. Hence, whatever NIMA resources are there, towards skill development, education, branding, and technology advancement, we will be drafting, analysing, conceptualising all these efforts, which are required for the M!CE sector to grow within the state. We will be doing this collectively with the local state tourism associations. Of course, we will join hands with like-minded associations, and those who believe in our philosophy to do good work in the field of M!CE. We have already partnered with couple of state associations and we are in discussion with others too. By the time the whole lockdown is cleared, we will be up and running in at least 10-12 states. This way we will work for the benefit of MICE sector in the states and ultimately it will grow M!CE within the country.”

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Indian stimulus package follows same trajectory as global ones: Suman Billa

Suman Billa, Director, Technical Cooperation & Silk Route Development, UNWTO, has said that the Indian stimulus package follows the same trajectory as other global stimulus packages, and instead of being disheartened about not having a specific tourism stimulus package, the industry should reach out to the government and share what in the existing package doesn’t work for them. “The industry should pitch for moratorium on interest and lowering of interest rates. They should look at firms which were left out and ensure that everybody should get access to loans. We need to look at the existing package and see what provisions are pinching us and tell the government that it is not catching the sensitivity of the tourism sector. If we can say that, I am sure that the government will be happy to consider the request,” commented Billa while speaking at the ‘Saving Airlines & Allied Industries – Saving Jobs’ webinar. He added that most stimulus packages across the world are sector-agnostic, and that the industry should carefully assess the existing provisions and propose the changes that are specifically required for the tourism sector.

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ETAA announces national committee for 2020-2021 amidst lockdown

The Enterprising Travel Agents Association (ETAA) has announced its new National Committee for the term 2020-2021. Jagat Mehta will continue to be the President and Board Member, and Dharmesh Advani has been promoted to National General Secretary and Board Member of ETAA. Meghana Gautam is now Joint General Secretary while Carl Dantas remains Chairman Emeritus and Founder President of ETAA. During the lockdown, the association conducted 15 webinars for its members on various topics such as CRM, unexplored destinations, insurance, legal compliance, social media, etc. It will continue to organise webinars for its members to impart knowledge and to assist them in growing business. Jagat Mehta says, “The association is disappointed with the government as it has not considered any relief packages for the Tourism Industry even after our constant efforts to highlight the problems faced by our industry due to Covid-19. However, we are still pursuing the matter, since this effect may last for a significant period in the near future.” The various Chapter Chairpersons are Sangeeta Manocha (North India), Santosh Khawale (Western India), Koushik Banerjee (East India), Jagadeesh Hanumanthaih (South India) and Nikhil Pargaonkar (Mumbai Region). Abhijit Khadilkar has decided to move on from his post of National General Secretary for ETAA and will now concentrate on growing his business.  

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ATOAI releases guest guidelines for post COVID-19 handling of guests

The Adventure Tour Operators Association of India (ATOAI) has released a set of guidelines for post-COVID-19 handling of guests by tour operators. Sharing the information in a tweet, the association said that The ATOAI guidelines will serve as recommendations for the safe handling of guests in a post-COVID-19 world. The document features the list of steps various stakeholders should take while on a tour or at their property/hotel. The intended audience for these guidelines is tour operators and accommodation providers including hotels, resorts and homestays. This document is NOT intended to serve as the definitive mandate for these operations, nor is it intended to cover every aspect of accommodation and tour operator businesses. ATOAI has focussed on the most common guest touchpoints, collating publicly information from a variety of sources. One should also not expect that following these guidelines guarantees no infection. The full guidelines can be accessed at www.atoai.org/index.php/about-us/covid-19-guidelines.html   

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IATO will organise skill development programs once situation normalise: Rajiv Mehra

Rajiv Mehra, Vice President, IATO during the 3rd TravTalk Digital Conclave said that IATO will organise skill development programs for its members to support them with help tackle the challenges created by COVID-19 crisis for the inbound industry. “Once everything normalises, we will start organising skill development programs for our members. We are hoping some relief from the government as well. We as an association cannot give monetary benefits to our members but we are actively in touch with the government to every possible thing for the survival of members. I expect this grave situation to get a little better in 3-4 months time once lockdown is lifted. IATO will definitely go forward and promote domestic tourism,” he said.

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