Tag Archives: Outbound Tour Operators Association of India

OTOAI asks embassies to issue Gratis Visas for all unused visas

OTOAI has recently written a letter to almost all European Embassies in India, requesting them to issue Gratis Visas to those travellers, who despite having a valid travel visa, could not undertake the planned holiday. Riaz Munshi, President, OTOAI, says, “OTOAI has written to most of the European Embassy requesting them to issue a Gratis Visa to the visitors who despite having paid and processed the Visa fee and due procedure, could not undertake the journey for reasons known to all of us.”

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OTOAI meets Jt. Secretary, Finance, to revoke TCS implementation

The team of Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI), recently met Kamlesh Varshney, Joint secretary, TPL, Ministry of Finance, to apprise him of situations arising currently on tourism industry because of TCS. In a statement by the association, it was mentioned, “We requested that TCS be not implemented and deferred in present situation. He assured that our request will be positively looked into and they would consider our request of rolling back of the law, and if rollback is not possible then deferment will be considered.” Riaz Munshi, President, OTOAI; Shravan Bhalla, Gen. Secretary; Guldeep Singh Sahni, Former President and Rajeev Sabharwal, Former Treasurer, met the Joint Secretary to voice their concerns.

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5th OTOAI convention in Turkey gets postponed

In the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak across the world, the Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI) has decided to postpone its Convention to another date. The Convention was scheduled to take place in Antalya, Turkey from March 15-18, 2020. Once things are back to normal, the OTOAI Convention will take place in Turkey with fresh dates. Riaz Munshi, President, OTOAI shares, “It is unfortunate that we had to postpone the convention, but given the prevailing circumstances, we thought it is best to do so. The decision has been taken keeping the safety of our delegates in mind as we would never do anything that might put their health in jeopardy. I am sure that the effect and spread of Covid-19 will subside with time and once that happens, we will re-announce the convention with a fresh set of dates.” Himanshu Patil, Vice President and Convention Chairman, OTOAI, added, “We would like to thank all the members of the travel trade, media and our partners in Turkey who have been extremely supportive. We look forward to your continued support in the future also and we are confident that as soon as the Covid-19 cases are curbed, we will announce the new dates of the convention.” In a statement, the Destination Turkey said, “Turkey is very eager to host all the delegates and the preparations are still in order. While Turkey has not reported a single confirmed case of COVID-19, the decision has purely been taken keeping the various travel advisories being issued in mind.”

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OTOAI to expand base in Tier-II, III markets

The Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI) held its 6th Annual General Meeting in New Delhi for its members. Welcoming the members, Mahendra Vakharia, President, OTOAI said, “We are working towards increasing our membership and expanding our base in Tier-II and III markets. After our successful annual convention in Cape Town, South Africa, we are now looking at organising training and educational programmes for frontline staff of our members. We also plan to conduct destination workshops for them in different cities.”

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OTOAI contributes Rs 1 lakh towards Kerala Relief Fund

The Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI) is contributing Rs 1 lakh towards the Kerala Relief Fund as part of its CSR activity. A larger amount is also being collected from the members of the association by way of donation for the cause. OTOAI is looking to support the industry members directly/indirectly  including hoteliers, taxi operators, houseboat owners, etc, through this collection of funds.

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4th OTOAI Convention kicks off in Cape Town

The Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI) inagurated its annual convention in Cape Town, South Africa on August 12. The four-day convention is themed on ‘Digitalisation – The Way Forward’. Speaking at the inaugural event, James Vos, Shadow Minister, Tourism South Africa, said, “It is a great opportunity for us to network and find out the best practices in the industry. Technology is an important part of the discussion and very relevant today. As a sector, tourism needs to become more resilient and sustainable. For every 12 international arrivals, we create one job for the domestic population. We welcomed more than 1 million conference delegates to South Africa in 2018. That shows the type of tourism infrastructure we can offer.” The association has also organised  pre- and post-familiarisation trips to two different locations – from Sun City to Johannesburg to Garden Route and Kruger National Park. This year is special for South Africa because 2018 marks the centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela with year-long celebrations being organised. OTOAI has held its past conventions in Manila, Bali and Ras Al-Khaimah.

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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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