Tag Archives: Chairman

Withdrawing agents’ commission not a good sign

Rajan Sehgal, Chairman, Northern Region, TAAI, says “Emirates is expanding its network fast and already has the largest number of flights, amongst all the international carries, flying to and from India. All this is because of the support of the travel agents. Agents in India have been marketing, selling, bringing customers and giving credit to them and paying the airline in time. Emirates does not understand that this could negatively impact the business. Offering 3 per cent commission on the basic fare is only peanuts for Emirates, but it is still following suit as other international airlines. Withdrawing this commission is not a good sign. However, they would soon realise that travel agents are important for the business. the Indian travel industry, unlike in other nations, is not very strong and has no support from the government. Hence, everybody is cutting the profit of the travel agent, but they will soon realise that travel agents are a major contributor to their business.”

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IATO welcomes new batch of guides in Mumbai

After a long spell of dearth of good quality guides in Maharashtra authorised by India Tourism, the Western Chapter of the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) is happy to welcome the new batch of guides who have just graduated. N.S. Rathor, Chairman, Western Region IATO and Regional Chapter Chairman, shared, “The good news is that we now have a new batch of guides after their course got over. About eight of them will get their licenses by around middle of February 2017. However, the trouble is the students from western India were made to sit with those from the north. So they have only studied monuments in north India. We have now requested the Ministry of Tourism, Regional Director, Vikas Rustagi, to give them an orientation here once they graduate and get their licenses. We also want them to interact with the older, more experienced guides so they also understand and learn how to converse with the foreign tourists when they ask questions about India, its economy, culture, etc. Many times, the foreign travellers, specially Europeans have more knowledge about India than us.”

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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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Ashwani Lohani is new WTTCII Chairman

World Travel & Tourism Council, India Initiative (WTTCII) has appointed Ashwani Lohani, Chairman & Managing Director, Air India, as its Chairman for the year 2017. Lohani, who served as the Vice Chairman of WTTCII for the year 2016, takes over from Kapil Chopra, President, The Oberoi Group, who completed his term at the recently held AGM in Delhi. Sunder G. Advani, Chairman & Managing Director, Advani Hotels & Resorts (India) Limited, has been appointed as the Vice Chairman of WTTCII for the year 2017. This was announced at the Annual General Meeting of the World Travel & Tourism Council, India Initiative (WTTCII) held on 12 December 2016 at New Delhi. Lohani said, “Over the years, WTTCII has been championing convergence between Government of India and States to facilitate tourism in India and we will continue to do so. With the GST in place by next year, the States will have the major onus of implementing smart policies for facilitating tourism on the ground. We will continue to work with the States, with the strength of our Members, to improve access, address infrastructural gaps and policy bottlenecks for tourism to flourish, and most importantly create jobs, employment and provide a vigorous boost to tourism’s contribution to the State’s GDP. The sub sectors of Aviation, Hospitality, Transportation, Railway compliments each other. In a country like India, all the subs sectors of tourism need to be integrated and treated uniformly by the Government in its various policy initiatives to give it a competitive edge vis-à-vis other countries.” Advani said, “We welcome the ground breaking move by Government of India introducing E-visa policy for 158 countries at 16 Airports and 5 Cruise Ports. These …

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Domestic tourism to get hit for few months

Rajan Sehgal, Chairman, TAAI Northern Chapter, feels that for the next few months, it will be a big problem for domestic tourism as people use cash transactions for everything from staying, to eating and sight-seeing. “Foreign tourists also are facing a challenge in paying for basic needs like food as well as reports have also come from many places about people being denied entry in the monuments as they do not have the required cash. Foreign tourists who are in the middle of their journey in India and have already exchanged money, have no idea what they need to do with the cash they have as most of it is in denominations of 1000 and 500. Another big problem for us is that all the embassies and VFS centres do not take cheques or credit cards. They only take demand drafts, which is a longer process or they accept cash, which is posing as a big problem today. We are in talks with them and hoping for a positive outcome.”

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Govt needs to better manage such moves

E.M. Najeeb, Chairman, IATO Southern Region, and Chairman & Managing Director, Air Travel Enterprises Group of Companies (ATE), says the decision has badly hit tourists today as thousands of tourists who are in India cannot pay in restaurants, do shopping, or pay for local purchases. “Apart from the stay, which is pre-paid, they can’t do anything else with the foreign exchange they have already taken. People are facing great hardships, queuing up at petrol pumps, there was not enough change at railway stations despite them accepting the 500 and 1000 bills. The government’s step to curtail black money is much appreciated, but I think it should have been better managed and the steps taken by the government shouldn’t have affected the normal people so much. We also have our hospitals and since the concession of accepting the larger denominations is only in government hospitals, private hospitals like us had to treat people for free.

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Travellers can’t spend currency at local shops, restaurants

Debjit Dutta, Chairman, IATO Eastern Chapter and Founder & CEO, Impression Tourism Services, says this bold move has definitely caused an inconvenience for travellers. “Foreign tourists who have recently exchanged money are now facing several problems even to buy food and shop since they are on holiday. Since we are tour operators, our business runs mostly on cash payments so it has hindered business as well. I feel that some facility should have been in place keeping in mind the number of tourists that are affected with this change – such turn of events might just lead them to have a bad impression of the country and go back with the same thing in mind,” he adds.

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TAAI signs MoU with Mount Carmel College

The Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) has signed an MoU with Mount Carmel College (Autonomous) in Bengaluru. M.S. Raghavan, Chairman, TAAI Karnataka, said, “We will collaboratively work broadly in the following areas besides other issues arising from time to time on tourism education. This will include designing the course curriculum and making it industry-relevant, and sourcing internships and final job placements for students of Mount Carmel College. We will also assist in arranging guest lecturers from the industry to update the current developments and conducting trade-related workshops. Other activities will include undertaking capacity development initiatives for the faculty members, sourcing live projects for the students from corporations in the sector, and other related initiatives with an objective of making B.Voc in Hospitality & Tourism Course and industry-oriented course that includes skill-training as well.” TAAI has in the past signed a similar MoU with HR College, Mumbai, Garden City College in Bengaluru, and the Lucknow University. Jay Bhatia, Tourism Council Chairman, TAAI, stated, “We at TAAI want to empower the future generations to understand and preview the industry. We want leaders of tomorrow to feel and understand the world before they set foot into the trade. Enhance and empower them is what we are looking at.”

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Kerala signs agreement with Ministry of Railways

A joint venture agreement was signed between the Ministry of Railways and Government of Kerala for developing railway infrastructure in the state. Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, Minister of Railways, Government of India , Ashok Kumar Mital, Chairman, Railway Board; Aditya Kumar Mittal, Member Engineering, Board Members and other senior officials were also present on the occasion. The JV Agreement was signed by S.C. Jain, Executive Director(Works) on behalf of Railways whereas it was signed by K.R. Jyothilal, Secretary, Department of Transport and Revenue (Devaswom) on behalf of Government of Kerala. Speaking on the occasion, Prabhu said that the signing of JV Agreements with the State Governments is a farsighted step of the Ministry of Railways by which Railways want to work hand in glove with the State Governments for the development of railway infrastructure in the states. He said that these kinds of JV Agreement is the best example of cooperative federalism for development of the nation as envisioned by our Prime Minister. He pointed out that Kerala has been neglected for too long and now concerted efforts are needed to develop its railway infrastructure. He said that Railway Ministry has given maximum allocation to Kerala during 2014-15 to 2016-17. He further said that Railways is also working on the re-development of Kochi and Ernakulam stations of Kerala State. Speaking on the occasion, Chairman, Railway Board said that today’s JV Agreement will certainly fulfill the rail transport needs of the people of Kerala. He said that Railways want to extend railway network all over particularly in the States where demand is more and rail density is less. He said that railways has very limited resources and thus working in collaboration with …

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IATO expects surge in South India members

The Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) is expecting a surge in its membership, specially from Chennai and other southern cities post its convention. N.S. Rathor, Chairman, Western Region IATO and Regional Chapter Chairman, says, “Chennai ranks third in terms of number of members after New Delhi and Mumbai and I’m sure after this convention a lot of agents in the South will get interested in joining IATO. We have a lot of active members in South India in regions like Kerala and Chennai. Since this is the first time we are going to Chennai, there is a lot of interest among the south Indian agents, specially from Chennai because most of them haven’t been able to attend our convention before. So everyone there is excited.” Rathor relocated to Mumbai from Rajasthan 20 years ago and is the longest uninterrupted member in the Executive Committee. Speaking about the distribution of its membership across India, he says that Western India is number two after Delhi. “We are growing in numbers and our total strength now is over 1,600 of which 350 are active members.”

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