Category Archives: Associations

IATO’s GST session gets a full house in Mumbai

The Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) recently organised a seminar with noted Service Tax expert Manish Gadia, Partner, GMJ & Co to talk on GST and to reply to member queries. The session mostly touched upon how GST is likely to affect inbound agents. Himanshu Agashiwala, Chairman, Maharashtra Chapter, IATO, said, “Everyone has been discussing about GST and so we decided to conduct this session in Mumbai. We saw a fantastic response with more than 75 members attending the event. We even welcomed a couple of non-members from the trade.” The association also discussed a few state-related issues before the session including the scarcity of guides, transport tax and upcoming events. Agashiwala also urged members to get more active and help out the committee in various tasks, including volunteering for the Hotel Inspection Committee that IATO is a part of.

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TAAI starts its pan-India workshops on GST

The Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) has started conducting educational workshops on GST for its members across all chapters along with its consultant and Service Tax expert, Manish Gadia, Partner, GMJ & Co. Jay Bhatia, National Treasurer and Chairman (Tourism Council), TAAI, says, “We did a session on GST in Ahmedabad on Saturday, May 27 and are doing another one in Mumbai on June 1. We have planned this pan-India for our chapters and the dates and cities will be announced soon.” The association will conduct another one in Lucknow on June 8. Gadia, who recently conducted a session on the same topic for Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) members in Mumbai says, “The main doubt of the IATO members was whether they have to go for five per cent or 18 per cent, whether they have both options, what will be the place of supply, and how can they get the maximum benefit from GST. Any change will always have some pros and cons. Introduction of GST is one the biggest economic reforms for India. So the tour operators will have to change the way they are doing business today.”  

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Hospitality industry in South India to protest GST rates

Following the recent announcement of the 28 per cent GST rates for hotels in the luxury category and those that charge a tariff of more Rs. 5000, to be applicable from July 1, the hospitality industry in South India is protesting the move. K. Syama Raju, President, SIHRA, says, “The recent developments and policies belie the importance of our industry and fail to recognise that this Industry is one of the largest employment generators and net foreign exchange earners with an expected exponential growth. It is imperative that we impress the government of our displeasure on these recent developments that are adversely affecting our industry. We commend the authorities for recognising the value of tourism by lower GST rates for one value chain of tourism i.e. travel, tours and transportation but are extremely disappointed that for the other part i.e. hotels & restaurants a regressive GST taxation regime has been applied. Hotel & restaurant businesses are striving to create higher standards and get higher ratings but the more punitive is the GST regime. Economic & visionary development of the industry cannot simultaneously be branded by exclusivity. The main objectives of GST is to minimise the cascading effect of taxation, harmonise the tax base, laws and administrative procedures across the country, creating a common playing field to promote healthy competition amongst the states that will ensure certain standards across the industry and most importantly minimizing tax slabs to avoid classification issues. The industry is coming together to protest on May 30, 2017, to register dissent against the adverse impact of the proposed GST rates in southern states.”

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Finnair becomes PATA’s newest aviation member

Finnair, the flagship carrier for Finland, has joined the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA). Dr. Mario Hardy, CEO, PATA said, “We are extremely pleased to welcome Finnair to the PATA family as our newest aviation member and the first Nordic airline to join in recent years. The airline is not only a leader in sustainable practices but also in pioneering new technologies such as testing face recognition technology for use by travellers when checking in for flights departing from Helsinki airport.” “Finnair is proud to join PATA, as Finnair’s growth strategy is strongly linked to the Asia & Pacific region. We want to further develop our business and intensify the ties between us and important local tourism authorities, associations and regional/local companies,” states Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer and Executive Board Member at Finnair.  

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Associations rush to conduct GST workshops for members

Various national travel trade associations in the country are rushing to conduct workshops on GST for their members and inform them on how the tax structure will impact their business. The Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) has organised a seminar with noted Service Tax expert, Manish Gadia, Partner, GMJ & Co to talk on Service Tax and GST and to reply to member queries. The Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) has also conducted a speaker session on GST. Following close on its heels will be the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI). Revealing this is Jay Bhatia, National Treasurer and Chairman (Tourism Council), TAAI, who said that the association will be doing a series of workshops on Service Tax and GST along with consultant Manish Gadia across the country.

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FICCI’s first Wedding Tourism Summit kicks off

Realising the potential of the Indian wedding industry, FICCI organised the first-ever Wedding Tourism Summit at The Lalit to give impetus to the booming segment. The gathering was welcomed by Dr Jyostna Suri, Past President, FICCI and Chairperson – FICCI Tourism Committee. Also present at the inauguration were Ajay K Sharma, Deputy Director – Tourism, Govt of Rajasthan, along with Siddharth Chaturvedi, CEO, Eventcrafter and Secretary, EEMA. The Wedding Tourism Summit will conclude on May 26, 2017. The two-day summit gives buyers and suppliers an opportunity to interact and explore potential business opportunities under one roof and also address issues and concerns pertaining to the wedding segment. Suri said, “Weddings not only benefit the hotels where the events take place, but also the destination as well as ancillary services like florists, caterers etc. We need to tap countries like UK where there are many tourists looking for good destinations to get married in and what better place than India, with its historic hotels and other sites. The objective of this platform is to create a bigger awareness of India and the various destinations as a sought-after wedding location.” Suman Billa, Joint Secretary – Tourism, Govt of India delivered the inaugural address where he stated, “If we want to achieve our target of attaining 2 per cent of global international tourist arrivals into India by 2025, we need to address all segments that have the potential to grow, and weddings is definitely one of them. People who come for weddings stay longer and spend more so there is a need for us to come up with a game plan on what we need to do to promote it. We need to look …

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Langkawi to host PATA Travel Mart 2018

Langkawi is the venue for PATA Travel Mart 2018 (PTM 2018) with the signature Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) event being hosted by Tourism Malaysia and Langkawi Development Authority. The announcement was made by the Association’s CEO Dr. Mario Hardy during the PATA Annual Summit in Negombo, Sri Lanka on May 21. Dr. Hardy said, “Tourism Malaysia and Langkawi Development Authority have been a valuable PATA member and partner since 1959 and 2017 respectively and we look forward to the opportunity of showcasing the culture, heritage and beauty of Langkawi. Delegates to PTM 2018 will experience one of Asia’s most remarkable and attractive destinations.” Tourism Malaysia Director General, Datuk Seri Mirza Mohammad Taiyab said, “Malaysia is proud and honoured to be given the opportunity to host another PATA event again, this time in the beautiful island of Langkawi. We are pleased to be co-hosts of PATA Travel Mart 2018 with Langkawi Development Authority and look forward to welcoming all PATA members to Malaysia for a fruitful and memorable meeting and networking session.”

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With data of NRI arrivals India jumps 16 places in International Tourist Arrivals

As per the March 2017 UNWTO barometer, India’s rank among International Tourist Arrivals in both 2014 and 2015 has bumped up to 24th compared to the previous rank of 41st and 40th, respectively. This is due to the inclusion of data regarding Non Residential Indian Arrivals allowing the comprehensive evaluation of India’s rank taking into account all factors. As per the UNWTO definition, International Tourist Arrivals (ITAs) comprises of two components namely Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) and Arrivals of Non-Resident Nationals. The UNWTO then ranks countries based upon this measure. Earlier India only compiled data on FTAs but recently has started to collect the data of Non Residential Indian arrivals. The number of ITAs in India during 2014 and 2015 were 13.11 million and 13.28 million, respectively. The number of NRI arrivals during 2014 and 2015 were 5.43 million and 5.26 million, respectively. The addition of this data is what led to the massive leap in India’s ranking. A significant jump has also been noticed in India’s rank in the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index [TCCI]. India has closed down 12 places and has shifted from a rank of 52nd in 2015 to 40th in 2017.

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ATTOI’s technology conference in Kochi from June 8-10

The Association of Tourism Trade Organizations India (ATTOI) is organising an International Conference on Tourism Technology (ICTT) at the Le Meridien Kochi from June 8 to 10 with support from Kerala Tourism. ATTOI has been pushing for more travel and hospitality industry stakeholders in India to use technology to support and grow their businesses. Anish Kumar P.K, President, ATTOI, says, “Conventional tour operators, especially in India, may think online customer reviews and ratings or being present on the internet is secondary to their business, but they need to realize the impact that digital platforms are having on the decisions Indians make on holiday travel. If your website does not show up in Google searches, if you are not on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram, or responding to customer reviews on TripAdvisor and MyTourReview, you may be losing out on large volumes of business.” ATTOI has created a platform exclusively for costumer reviews for tour operators called MyTourReview. Anish Kumar adds, “The ICTT is a chance for travel businesses to learn from the experiences of people who have benefited tremendously from taking the technology route. Your consumers are not just sitting behind computers, they are making their searches on tablets and smartphones, so you need to make your presence felt on all devices.” He said the future of travel is certainly digital, and ATTOI is maximizing its use of technology, for instance in using live streaming as a promotional campaign tool for the upcoming second edition of ICTT. In December last year, ATTOI, as a curtain raiser to an international conference, organised a live streaming of an underwater engagement to showcase beach resorts as a unique offering of Kerala Tourism. Over …

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UNWTO Executive Council recommends Zurab Pololikashvili for Secretary-General

The 105th session of the UNWTO Executive Council, meeting in Madrid, Spain, on 12 May 2017, recommended Zurab Pololikashvili, Ambassador of Georgia in Spain, as a nominee for the post of Secretary-General for the four-year-period starting January 2018. The candidature of Zurab Pololikashvili was presented by his country, Georgia, in accordance with the UNWTO statutes. The recommendation of the UNWTO Executive Council will be submitted to the upcoming 22nd UNWTO General Assembly for ratification (September 11-16, 2017, Chengdu, China). Pololikashvili is the Permanent Representative of Georgia to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). He also has broad experience of working in both private and public sectors at high-profile positions. He has extensive diplomatic experience, having represented Georgia to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), as well as serving as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Kingdom of Spain. He also held a position of the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2005 to 2006.

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