Tag Archives: IATO

IATO announces Chairman, Co-Chairman for Convention

The Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) has finalised the Chairman and Co-chairman of their convention scheduled from September 7-10, 2017 at The Mayfair Convention Centre in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. Rajiv Mehra, Vice President, IATO, is the Chairman, while Lally Matthews, Hon. Secretary, IATO, has been designated as the Co-Chairman for the convention. On their planning for the convention, Mehra said, “We are looking forward to an excellent convention, and discuss various issues like GST, role of social media, as well as how to get leads through websites and developing websites. Through sessions, we will be working towards the ultimate aim of telling our members how to grow their business. We are choosing topics through which we can do something for our medium and small sized operators.” Matthews, on the other hand, said, “Right now we are trying to get the registrations started. Also, we are waiting for the GST roll out, so that the hotel rates can be finalised under the new regime.”

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MTOA conducts GST seminar for members in Mumbai

Following close on the heels of national travel trade associations, the Maharashtra Tour Organisers Association (MTOA) recently conducted a seminar on the impending GST for its members in Mumbai. It was conducted on June 5, 2017, by noted Service Tax expert Manish Gadia, Partner, GMJ & Co, who conducted similar sessions for TAAI as well as IATO. Sudhir Patil, President, MTOA, says, “We welcome the new GST regime though there is a lot of fear factor attached to it. Complications are expected. But I hope that more seminars will help us make this a smooth transition.” The association also launched its website (www.mtoa.co.in) on the same day.

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IATO Maharashtra Chapter to convene in Karjat on June 21

The Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) has announced that its Maharashtra Chapter will come together once again in Karjat on June 21. IATO’s National Committee along with Chairman of Western Region, N.S. Rathor are expected to present for this. Announcing this is Himanshu Agashiwala, Chairman, Maharashtra Chapter, IATO, who says, “Our Maharashtra chapter conducts at least four to five meetings in a year. One such meeting will be held on June 21 at Hotel Radisson Blu in Karjat. It is a day-long event and we have even invited our executive committee from New Delhi to join us. They might stay overnight. This will be third time that the executive committee from Delhi will be attending a Western Chapter meeting. They normally meet in Delhi itself. One of our members Arika Holidays has managed to get rooms and lunch at the hotel for our members.”

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Mumbai Port to get e-visa facility by Dec 2017

Mumbai Port will soon be among the three Indian ports in the country that will be able to offer e-visa facilities to international cruise passengers. Revealing this, N.S. Rathor, Chairman, Western Region and Regional Chapter Chairman, Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), says, “I was part of the meeting between Sanjay Bhatia, Chairman, Mumbai Port Trust, and the Bureau of Immigration officials who have principally agreed to allow the port to offer e-visa facilities by December 2017. Currently, only Mangalore, Goa and Kochi offer this.” Talks are on to offer this service from Chennai seaport soon. Foreigners will then be able to enter India through five seaports — Mumbai, Kochi, Chennai, Goa and Mangalore — with electronic visa (e-visa), in addition of 16 airports where the facility is available.

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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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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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We’ve got what we wanted: IATO

Claiming that applying of CENVAT credit with 9 per cent service tax was cumbersome, Pronab Sarkar, President, IATO, said, “ GST was awaited for a long time and we were demanding from the government that since there is a lot of multiplicity of taxes in the tourism sector, the taxes should be rationalised and reduced. Thus, we were hoping to be put under the lowest GST slab and get some relief. I am glad that the government has agreed to both of them and has given us the same status what we wanted with 5 per cent GST rate. Also, there is no CENVAT credit on that. We are only concerned about one aspect of hotels, as they have put 28 per cent GST on hotels over Rs. 5000 which should not be more than 18 per cent. However, the hotel industry should come out and take up this issue. The government should encourage more tourists to come and not only look for more taxes. Rather, it should look for more tourists and get a bigger chunk of foreign exchange, which will not only generate revenue but also a lot of employment opportunities in the hospitality industry.”

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IATO opposes transport tax in Haryana

Pronab Sarkar, President, IATO, has said that the members of IATO are unhappy with the transport tax hike by the Transport Department of Haryana Government in the state. Addressing the monthly luncheon meeting of IATO, he said, “The transport tax in Haryana has been increased by 1700% from April 1, 2017. He said that while the government has increased this tax after four years, but such a steep hike is unacceptable. We will be meeting the Haryana Chief Minister as well as the Union Finance Minister to request them to implement any increase gradually.” Starting April 1, commercial vehicles entering Haryana would have to pay Rs. 3000.

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IATO convention in Bhubaneswar from Sept 7-10, 2017

The 33rd Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) Convention will be held from September 7-10, 2017 in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. Revealing this was N.S. Rathor, Chairman, Western Region IATO and Regional Chapter Chairman, who said, “The Minister Tourism and Culture, Government of Odisha, Ashok Chandra Panda, had attended our previous convention in Chennai and he was very keen for us to have our next convention in Orissa. As soon as he returned to Orissa, he spoke to his CM and they suggested the dates. It will be held either at Hotel Swosti or Mayfair Lagoon. Our team will visit the city soon for a recce. We had done our convention in Orissa in 2008 as well and since then the state has seen tourism grow. So the government is very keen to have the convention again.” He added that the main selling point in Orissa has been its tribal tours which is very niche and will appeal only to a few tourists who are interested. “Moreover, the accommodation available is basic, requires a lot of travelling and accessibility isn’t that great. For us though, it was an eye-opener. The people in Orissa are very nice, very warm. We travelled extensively in the area during our past convention and realised the destination has a lot of potential,” Rathor said.

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