Tag Archives: OTOAI

OTOAI convention in Cape Town from Aug 11-14

The Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI) has announced that it will conduct its next annual convention in Cape Town from August 11-14, 2018. These details were shared by Mahendra Vakharia, President, OTOAI, who said, “The convention will be followed by a three-night post-convention tour for our members and we urge them to block these dates at their earliest.” Responding to the issue of the water crisis that the mainstream media had reported, he added, “There is absolutely no problem with water there. Tourism has not been affected at all and the industry is more than equipped to handle this situation. We have a local partner helping us with the logistics for this.” Vakharia added that the team will finalise the convention theme and agenda soon.

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Travel Luxury Show concludes with 1800 meetings

The Travel Luxury Show, recently concluded in Jaipur, with 1800 successful meetings. Luxury buyers from across India had one-on-one meetings with the sellers. At the inauguration in a high profile group discussion, luxury trends were highlighted that included the growth statistics of this sector and the immense potential that India has to offer. The luxury Indian traveller is evolving and this platform was a perfect example of that. The show was inaugurated by Guldeep Singh Sahni, Former Founder President, OTOAI; Monica Suri, General Manger, Jaipur Marriott Hotel and Manish Kriplani, Chapter Head South, OTOAI. The next edition of the travel luxury show will be held on April 6 and 7, 2019.  

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OTOAI to push for more members in 2018

The first members’ meet of the newly elected Executive Committee of the Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI) held in New Delhi lay emphasis on increasing the number of members. While formally presenting the new team to its members, Mahendra Vakharia, President, Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI) stressed that in 2018, the association would focus on adding to its member base substantially. He added, “Our efforts would be on advocating greater knowledge amongst the members and simultaneously to engage various tourism boards to invest in education. He also added that moving forward, a digital push will become a mandate for all industry players lest they get left behind. Signing off on a successful year despite industry challenges, the association is all geared up for the coming year.

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Airlines directly approaching customers, ignoring agents: Chitra Bhatia

Slamming Jet Airways’ move to scrap agents’ commission, Chitra Bhatia, Gen. Secretary, OTOAI, said, “I don’t think one per cent commission for agents was a big deal for the airline. Airlines need to continue the commission and partner with travel agents. Commission is a bond between the agent and the airline which should not be discontinued. Airlines are now going directly to the customer, and ignoring the agents in between. However, it is important for both the parties to work together.”

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OTOAI elects Mahendra Vakharia as President for 2017-19

Mahendra Vakharia, Managing Director, Pathfinders Holidays has been elected as the President while Himanshu Patil, Director, Kesari Tours is the new Vice President for Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI). The other office bearers are Chitra Bhatia, Director, Aashman Air Travels who is the new General Secretary; Gurdeep Gujaral, Founder Director, Gujral Tours and Travels continues to hold the post of Joint Secretary while Siddharth Khanna, Partner, Khanna Enterprises is the new Treasurer. The Executive Committee members include Ankush Nijhawan, Managing Director, Nijhawan Group, Sujit Nair, Founder and Group Managing Director, Akquasun Group, Riaz Munshi, Managing Director, N. Chirag Travels, Shravan Bhalla, Chief Executive Officer, High Flyer, Adl Karim Director, Creative Tours and Travels (India) and Rajeev Sabharwal, CEO, Gaurav Travels. Vakharia says, “I feel extremely happy, privileged and honoured to be trusted with this position. Increasing our membership across India remains to be our top priority.” The state chairmen will be announced in due course of time, informs Vakharia.

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Mahendra Vakharia gets the DDP Trailblazer

Mahendra Vakharia, Managing Director, Pathfinders Holidays, has been declared the DDP Trailblazer at the West India Travel Awards 2017. A travel enthusiast, Vakharia did his hotel management from Mumbai and then went on to help thousands make their dreams a reality. He is also the founder member of the Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI) where he is the executive committee member and also the chairman of the western region of OTOAI. He is also the voice behind the mandate that requires all outbound agents to complete at least 25 hours of training a year to retain their active status. His first hand knowledge from personal experience is what helps him make magical itineraries for his customers and it is this self experience before selling a destination that makes him a Trailblazer. .

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OTOAI’s national election on Nov 27

Post its successful convention in Ras Al Khaimah, Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI) is gearing up for their national election on November 27, 2017. Making this annoucement, Guldeep Singh Sahni, President, OTOAI, said, “We are currently giving finishing touches to tasks and projects. We had previously undertaken to give the new committee a strong base in their transitory period to take our hard work even further during their tenure.” The elections will be conducted for 11 Executive Committee members who will further elect the new working committee.

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3rd OTOAI Convention in RAK begins with 180 delegates in attendance

The third Annual Convention of Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI) kicked off in Ras Al Khaimah with 180 delegates. The Convention was inaugurated by Shaji Thomas, Director-Destination Tourism Development, Ras Al Khaimah; Guldeep Singh Sahni, President, OTOAI; Riaz Munshi, Convention Chairman and Vice President, OTOAI; Mohamed Khater, Senior Tourism Development Manager, Government of Ras Al Khaimah; Gurdeep Gujral, Joint Secretary, OTOAI; SanJeet, India Representative, Ras Al Khaimah, and Mahendra Vakharia, Chairman-Western Chapter, OTOAI. Sahni said, “Amidst the challenges in outbound tourism, there are growth opportunities and we need to seize them by raising our game and gearing up for growth. We need to up our value proposition and rise above the competition.” Thomas informed that India is the fourth largest source market for Ras Al Khaimah with Germany being the largest followed by UK and Russia. “India is a very important market for us. Earlier Indians used to stay 1.9 nights in RAK but now they stay for 2.25 nights which means they have explored more things to do at the destination. We have become a popular destination for weddings. This year we have 17 Indian boutique weddings and we hope to increase this number steadily.”

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OTOAI’s GST seminar addresses members’ concerns

The Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI) addressed its members’ queries regarding the recently implemented GST regime. Chartered Accountant Ashok Batra made a presentation to explain the nitty-gritty of this new tax structure and also elaborated on how this would affect the members of the association in day-to-day business activities. The members attended the seminar with full enthusiasm and raised various queries, all of which were addressed during the event itself.

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A good step ahead: OTOAI

According to Guldeep Singh Sahni, President, OTOAI, the government went two steps back and now they have come one step ahead with the current GST rate. He revealed, “We were giving 4.5 per cent tax before January 22, 2017 and then we had CENVAT available. After January 22, we were under 9 per cent service tax. This step disturbed our summer bookings and there was a major loss of business to international OTAs. The new rates which will be implemented after the GST council’s meeting is 5% on supply of tour operators’ services. We need to clarify the meaning of this. If it is on the profit or add-on, then it’s very good. But if it is on the total amount, then we again stand expensive by 5 per cent than our international suppliers, because if we are taxing international hotels, then we are taxing them again. As input credit is not available it has direct impact on us.”

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