Tag Archives: Outbound Tour Operators Association of India

OTOAI introduces new team to Western Region members

The Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI) conducted a member’s meet in Mumbai last week to introduce the new team to the members in the Western Region. Present at the event were the association’s Executive Committee (EC) led by its President, Mahendra Vakharia. He said, “We have decided to have the EC meeting once a month on every second Saturday so everyone can plan their month accordingly. It will be held in different cities but predominantly in Delhi and will rotate between Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Ahmedabad.” Speaking about the association’s upcoming convention, he said, “It is shaping up very well. We will announce the name of the country in a week. We are doing it with the support of the destination’s tourism board and it will be held sometime in August or September 2018. The team will start working on the logistical details now like airlines, hotels, etc.” The next EC meeting will be held on May 14, 2018 in New Delhi. The EC members had met earlier in the day to discuss the plan of action for the association as well as its upcoming convention. Ajay Sengar, Chapter Chairman – Western India, OTOAI, who is from the tier city of Akola in Maharashtra, was also present at the networking event. Some other EC members had flown down from New Delhi including Shravan Bhalla and Rajeev Sabharwal, along with General Secretary Chitra Bhatia.

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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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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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OTOAI Convention in Ras Al Khaimah from Sep 12-14

The Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI) will be organising its 2017 Convention in Ras Al Khaimah in September. Guldeep Singh Sahni, President, OTOAI, and Haitham Mattar, CEO, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development, signed a MOU for the same at the Ras Al Khaimah Roadshow in Delhi. Sahni said, “We are going to have our convention most probably from September 12-14 in Ras Al Khaimah. The dates are tentative and will be finalised soon. We will be coming out with more details about the convention very soon. Our intention is to introduce new markets to the tour operators so that they have another destination in their kitty, which will add value to the already existing markets that they sell. If one looks at the numbers, there is a big gap between Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah, and we are looking at utilising that for the benefit of the tour operators so that they can extend their tours to this destination, with an added cost.”

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Malaysia offers multiple-entry e-visa to Indians on OTOAI’s request

Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Haji Mohammad Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak has announced the launch of multiple entry e-visa valid for 15 days for Indian nationals. The announcement came a day after Guldeep Singh Sahni, President, Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI), met Dato’ Seri Mohd. Nazir Abdul Aziz, Minister of Tourism & Culture, Govt. of Malaysia, along with Raghuvinder Singh of D Pauls Travel and suggested that e-visa facility being offered to Indians should be made multiple entry. The suggestion led the Minister to take action and decision was taken within a day, and the Malaysian Prime Minister announced, “I would like more Indians to visit Malaysia and I have informed the Prime Minister that we have decided to allow no visa fee, online application approval within 48 hours and multiple entry to be accorded for Indian nationals.” The Malaysian Prime Minister met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his official visit to the country on April 1. Sahni said, “Thanks to Datuk Seri Mirza Mohd Taiyab, Director General Tourism Malaysia, Dato Daljit Singh, Indian Community Relations Advisor to the Minister of Tourism and Culture, Malaysia, Datuk Siew Ka Wei, Chairman Tourism Malaysia and Sulaiman Suip as the new Director, North & East India operations, for their contribution. We acknowledge Hon. Dato Seri’ Mohd Nazir Abdul Aziz and his team for taking action so quickly.”

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OTOAI promotes Nanjing, China in Delhi

In a bid to educate the travel trade about Nanjing’s diverse tourism offerings, Outbound Tour Operators’ Association of India (OTOAI) organised a workshop in association with Nanjing Municipal Tourism Garden Bureau. Through a series of presentations, the main highlights in the Ming dynasty’s home, such as the ancient philosopher Confucius’ temple, Ming Great Wall, Linggu Temple, to name a few, were shown to the gathering along with other details about the destination. Guldeep Singh Sahni, President, OTOAI said, “We are promoting various regions instead of the whole country in order to give elaborate information on the destination. Nanjing is China’s ancient capital and is replete in history and culture. It can cater to a wide variety of travellers and would make for an ideal break, thanks to the array of products it has to offer.” Additionally, Xia Jun, Deputy Director, Nanjing Municipal Tourism Garden Bureau said, “We received around 10,000 Indians last year and would like to see more Indian tourists visiting the region. Nanjing is best visited during autumn and is famous for its history as well as cuisine. We are hoping for a direct connection between Nanjing and New Delhi to start soon which will definitely give a boost to the numbers,” she commented.

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OTOAI member’s meet in Ahmedabad for the first time

The Outbound Tour Operators’ Association of India (OTOAI) held its member’s meet in Ahmedabad for the first time on December 21, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in the city. Attended by 90 invited guests, sponsors, and office bearers of OTOAI and the agenda for the meet was to introduce OTOAI to the tourism industry in the city,  use it as a networking event with Members of OTOAI and non members, with intention to increase the membership base in the state, informed Mahendra Vakharia, Chairman – Western Chapter, OTOAI. Apart from the networking, they had also included interesting mix of destination, product presentation and presentation by a professional GST expert, on the implications of GST in the industry. Guldeep Sahni, President, OTOAI and Riaz Munshi, Vice President, OTOAI, were also present at the meet.

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1300 meetings at Travel Show

The two editions of Travel Show held on Dec 17 and 18, 2016, at Le Meridien Gurgaon recorded 1,300 meetings between around 25 exhibitors as well as 25 buyers on both days. The closed-door event which focused on MICE on the first day, and on Experiential and Luxury travel the second day, was inaugurated by Guldeep Singh Sahni, President, Outbound Tour Operators’ Association of India; Sushil Shamal Wadhwa, Founder & CEO, Platinum World Grroup and Shahnawaz Shah, Manager Marketing, SKICC. It presented an exclusive networking opportunity to a selective list of travel and hospitality professionals in a pre-scheduled one-on–one meeting format. Commenting on the show, Sarika Rawal Bhambani, General Manager, Travel Show said, “Successful meetings took place between the selected exhibitors and top-level buyers. It is an excellent platform for companies which are looking to gain a slice of demand or are looking to grow their existing shares.”

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