Category Archives: Associations

India engages with Australian trade

A horde of travel agents and tour operators from across Australia, keen on knowing more about India, attended the ‘Know India Better’ event held in Sydney on May 24. A joint initiative of India Tourism and Australia India Travel & Tourism Council (AITTC), this was the final of a series of sessions launched last year, aimed to educate the industry with updated travel information on India covering flights, hotels, infrastructure developments, visa, tours and safety awareness. According to Sandip Hor, Chairman AITTC, this project has immensely aided the industry allowing agents and tour operators to excite potential travellers on India. “Australia has moved from ninth to the seventh position in the list of foreign tourists arriving India”, said Kanchan Kukreja, Acting Director India Tourism Sydney. Attendess heard about this exotic destination from various presentors – India Tourism, Intrepid Travel and Air India and on India’s various touristy drawcards , including some of the economic and technological developments. Madhu Mathen, Manager Air India emphasised how the direct flights between Sydney/ Melbourne and Delhi are contributing to the growth in bilateral travel. While Kukreja in her presentation engaged the audience through various showstopping scenes of India, Sandip Hor expressed thoughts of initiating similar program in India to update market with more information on Australia, AITTC objective being to promote bilateral tourism. Representatives from Air India, Accor Hotels, Intrepid Travel, Insight Vacations, Far Horizon, Taj Hotels, Grace Hotel, Special Holidays Travel were also present.

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Andrew Jones: New Chairman of PATA Executive Board

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has announced the election of Andrew Jones, Guardian, Sanctuary Resorts, Hong Kong SAR, as Chairman of the Association’s Executive Board. He replaces Kevin B Murphy who was elected Chairman in April 2015 and who remains a member of the Executive Board as Immediate Past Chairman. Over the past 45 years he has worked in numerous senior management and corporate positions for prestigious hotels, resorts and management companies in London, Bermuda, Canada, Hong Kong SAR and across Asia. In 1996 he founded and became the Guardian of Sanctuary Resorts, a resort management company creating responsible and sustainable tourism experiences where people can balance their body, mind and spirit in an environmentally friendly space. A Certified Hotel Administrator of the American Hotel and Lodging Association, and a Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality, Andrew was previously a member of the Board of the Indian Ocean Tourism Organization and Director, Asia Pacific Affairs for the International Hotel and Restaurant Association. Andrew Jones said, “It is especially meaningful to me to be elected to the position of Chairman of PATA during this 65th anniversary year of the Association. During this time, after a long career in hospitality, I also celebrate my 65th year on the planet. In leading and guiding PATA in the coming year, my focus will be on the continual and future enhancement of the Association. In taking on this role I commit to pro-actively working with the Executive Board, management team and our members to continue the good work of PATA. I want us to deliver on our promised advocacy themes, especially Human Capital Development, and to encourage membership development and involvement while supporting the …

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Service tax exemption on pilgrimage from July 2012- Aug 2014

The Central Government has notified travel serivce providers that it has exempted service tax on religious pilgrimage for Kailash Mansarovar, Haj Yatra or pilgrimage facilitated by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, between July 1, 2012 to August 19, 2014. A notification was issued to TAAI members on September 2, 2014, specifically exempting service tax on services provided by specified organisations in respect of religious pilgrimage for Kailash Mansarovar, Haj Yatra or a religious pilgrimage facilitate by MEA, GoI, with effect from August 20, 2014. However, for the period from July 1, 2012 to August 20, 2014 service tax was applicable on the aforesaid services but due to common practice prevalent during that time, no service tax was paid on the services.

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PATA & MOT’s US roadshows begin

PATA India and the Ministry of Tourism’s (MOT) first leg of its five-city US roadshow begins today at San Francisco and will cover the West Coast. Imparting more details on the roadshow, Vikram Madhok, Hony. Treasurer, PATA India, said, “One of our mandates for PATA membership is to add value so we embark on roadshows across the world, primarily in the main feeder markets. Now, we are going back to the US and have more than 20 people from every segment participating. It’s going to begin from May 24 in San Francisco, May 25 in Los Angeles (Orange County), May 26 in Los Angeles (Beverly Hills), May 31 in Vancouver ending on June 1 in Seattle. Another roadshow in Europe is currently in the pipeline.”

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TAAI narrows down on Egypt, SA, Singapore for convention

The Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) is in dialogues with a few destinations for its annual convention that is likely to be held between August-September 2016. Sunil Kumar, President, TAAI, who was in Mumbai recently, said, “Convention is also one of the reasons why the four Office Bearers met at the TAAI Secretariat. We are having a few meetings and hopefully by May end we should have confirmed the destination and the venue. The window for our convention is between August 15 – September end. If required, we may get on to October. We already have details from a few bidders.” Lokesh Bettaiah, TAAI’s Secretary General, said, “Many destinations have shown their interest in hosting our convention and among them are Egypt, South Africa and Singapore. Four of the Office Bearers had also visited Egypt recently for a recce on the Ministry’s invitation.”

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North East agents register for IATO for free

The Executive Committee of Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) has decided to waive off the Rs. 5000/- registration fee for new members from North East India till March 31, 2017. Lally Matthews, Honorary Secretary, IATO, said, “IATO is looking at adding more members now. We would like to increase membership from the North East and have thus waived off the registration fee of Rs. 5000/- for interested tour operators from the region.”

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130 agents apply for TAAI’s Joint Bank Guarantee scheme

Four members of the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) Managing Committee met in Mumbai yesterday to review  applications received by the association from its members for the Joint Bank Guarantee (JBG) Scheme. Sunil Kumar, President, TAAI, said, “We have received over 130 applications from members who are keen to join the guarantee.” Among the Office Bearers present were Marzban Antia, TAAI’s Vice President; Lokesh Bettaiah, TAAI’s Secretary General; and Imtiaz Qureshi, TAAI’s MC member who looks after Legal. Bettaiah added, “We are scrutinising each and every application received from 20 regions and chapters across India and the TAAI auditors will come out with a final list by May 20. After that, we will send them to IATA who will conduct their own verifications. We do multi-level checks and follow stringent procedures, which take a lot of time. It’s a huge responsibility on us to pick the right members. We will need to submit these applications to IATA by July 1, 2016. There has been a good response for it this year. TAAI has been successful in managing this scheme earlier as well and lot of members have benefitted from this scheme monetarily as well as for smoother day-to-day business as far as capping issues are concerned. If anyone else is interested to join, they can do so the following year.”

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Vikram Madhok: new Chairman of PATA Industry Council

Vikram Madhok, Managing Director, Abercrombie & Kent India, and Honorary Treasurer, PATA India Chapter, has been elected as the next Chairman of the PATA Industry Council, for the term of May 2016-May 2017. The PATA India Chapter, established in 1974, has grown to include 236 members and is one of the most dynamic Chapters in the Asia Pacific region today. With major support from the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India which is the main and largest PATA India member organization, the Chapter includes State Tourism Boards, Carriers, Hotels, Travel Agents, Tour Operators, Service Providers and other travel-related companies.

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TAFI national elections, AGM by June end

The Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) has been busy with its ongoing chapter elections and will soon be conducting its national team election along with its Annual General Meeting (AGM) by June end. Revealing this information is Pradip Lulla, National General Secretary, TAFI, who said, “A lot of our chapters like Tamil Nadu have completed their elections. We will now be sending out notification for our AGM to all our members that will be combined with our national committee elections around June end. We are still deciding on the city and venue. By July, we will be able to finally roll out our Joint Bank Guarantee Scheme.” TAFI had earlier deferred the joint bank guarantee scheme last June citing unsuitable legal terms for its members.

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Former TAAI & UFTAA president VinooUbhayakar passes away

VinooUbhayakar, past president of Travel Agents Association of India (1975-1978) and the first Asian and Indian to be elected as the president of Universal Federation of Travel Agent’s Association (UFTAA) (1982-1984), passed away yesterday. He was 90.Ubhayakarbegan his travel industry career in 1949 with Asiatic Travel Service where he went on to become the Managing Director in 1953. He joined Trade Wings as Executive Director and in 1965 was appointed the Managing Director a position he continues to hold today. He was elected to the board of Universal Federation of Travel Agents Association for four years then as Vice President for two years and then President for two years of this World Body. During his tenure,Ubhayakarorganised the Silver Jubilee Function in Mumbai and introduced the Agastya Awards too.

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