Tag Archives: Outbound Tour Operators Association of India

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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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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