Tag Archives: President

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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TAAI national elections on Nov 28, 2017 in Mumbai

The Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) has announced that it will conduct its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on November 28, 2017, in Mumbai at The Lalit Mumbai. This will be followed by its national elections at around 11:30 am at the same venue. Revealing this is Sunil R. Kumar, President, TAAI, who adds, “Currently we are busy with all the statutory processes for the AGM such as reports, financial statements as well as arranging for the election process.” When asked about the annual convention that has been delayed due to various reasons, Kumar says, “We will definitely have our convention, which will happen after our AGM, possibly in January or February 2018. We did the same thing last year as well when we held our annual convention in Abu Dhabi after our AGM.”

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HRAWI, AHAR hail granting of permission to open roof-top eateries in Mumbai

In lieu of growing demand for roof-top cafes and bars in Mumbai with ocean view for an enhanced experience for locals and tourists alike, the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai has granted permission to open eateries on terrace/part terrace/common terrace of those buildings which are commercial mall building/residential hotel having an existing eating house. “AHAR and HRAWI are thankful to the Hon’ble Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Ajoy Mehta, Rahul Shewale, Aditya Thackeray, and Rais Sheikh of Samajwdi Party who were instrumental in facilitating the open terrace permissions. We are happy that the government is doing its bit in encouraging tourism. It has been our plea to unlock the huge potential that terraces offer by allowing them to be operated as leisure or recreational spaces. Sky bars and roof-top cafes are an emerging trend across the world and Mumbai despite being the commercial capital of India lacked the policy for allowing these activities. This is a welcome decision which many International tourists as well as Mumbaikars will appreciate,” said Dilip Datwani, President, Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI).

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HRAWI reclassifies 13 hotels under global norms

The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) certified 13 hotels in Maharashtra under new norms which are more contemporary and global in standards as compared to existing ratings. As per the new norms, hotel properties will be classified, rated or graded under six categories listed as Budget, Classic, Premium, Luxury, Deluxe Luxury and Primo Luxury, and will be uniform for both domestic and foreign tourists. “The objective behind developing the IHQS is to educate our members on modern quality standards as well as reduce the burden of the Ministry of Tourism (MoT). The Government can now focus on improving and promoting tourism, while, we from the industry, are doing our bit to support the initiative,” says Dilip Datwani, President, HRAWI. The Shalimar Hotel, The Fern Residency, Golden Swan Beach Resort, The Emerald, Peninsula Grand Hotel, Sun-N-Sand Hotel, Holiday Inn Mumbai international Airport, Waterstones Hotel, T24 Residency, Hotel Transit, Hotel Meluha, Renaissance Mumbai Hotel and Convention Centre and Hyatt Place are among the first hotels to have been audited as per the new classification standards and have been officially certified as of October 25, 2017.

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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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IATO plans first outbound convention in Sri Lanka from Oct 2-5, 2017

After successfully concluding its annual convention in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha from September 7-10, the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) has announced its first outbound convention in Sri Lanka. Pronab Sarkar, President, IATO, reveals, “We have been given a green signal from the Sri Lanka Tourism Board for our first outbound convention that will be held from October 2-5, 2017 in Colombo. We will be working on that now and will inform our members as soon as we return to New Delhi. This will be the first outbound convention that will be organized by IATO. We will discuss the agenda for that and announce it within a few days.”  

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SC clarifies on highway liquor ban; big respite for city hotels

The Supreme Court has clarified that the ban on sale of alcohol within 500 meters of state and national highways does not apply within city limits, granting relief to the liquor and hospitality industry. The Apex Court’s directive that no liquor shop shall be visible and directly accessible from the highways nor it should be situated within 500 metres of the outer edge of the national or state highway or of the service lane, created chaos in the hospitality industry. While lakhs of people lost their jobs, the MICE business impacted a great deal in the country. Terming it as a landmark order, Dilip Datwani, President, Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) says, “This was a much needed clarification as millions of jobs and the very survival of the nation’s tourism industry was at stake. It has been HRAWI’s contention right from the start that the original order could not have been directed at hotels and liquor vends within city limits. We are thankful to the Bench and the Hon’ble Justices for unequivocally clarifying this. The order will bring relief to almost 70 per cent of the affected hotels.”

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Skål International Delhi becomes the largest Club in the world

Skål International Delhi has surpassed Skål International Istanbul to become the largest club in the world; this was announced by Sunil Ghadiok, President, Skål International Delhi. With a current membership sitting of 229 members, the Club is targeting a total membership count of close to 300 by the end of the calendar year. Commenting on the this accomplishment, Ghadiok exclaimed, “It’s not so much about being the largest club in terms of membership rather it’s about bringing value to the members of the club both in terms of professional and personal aspects of their life”. He also added that the club will be starting various initiatives along with making efforts into bringing in the younger generation to further substantiate the Delhi club.

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MOT’s help desk for medical tourists to open at Mumbai airport in Oct

The Ministry of Tourism plans to introduce facilitation centers at six major airports for international patients coming to India for treatment. The first centre will open at the Mumbai airport in October. The purpose of these centers is to allow patients and their relatives, smooth passage for the treatment in the country without being approached by touts and these centers will be operational 24×7, throughout the year. The Ministry has sought help from the Indian Medical Association (IMA) and the Consortium of Accredited Healthcare Organisations. “Mumbai will be a pilot project. Depending on how it works out, centers will come up in Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad,” said Dr. K.K. Aggarwal, President, IMA and member of the ministry’s medical tourism board. Aggarwal further informed that the centers will have trained personnel who will guide patients and their relatives if they have already short-listed a hospital and will provide information about accredited hospitals in case they are yet to short-list one. “Often, when some of the patients land up undecided, they are misguided by touts. Through the centre, we can eventually eliminate the touts and avoid these patients from landing up at some quack,” said IMA member Dr. Jayesh Lele, adding that the centre will come up right after the customs clearance. The ministry also plans to have a telephone link at the counter to the Incredible India info helpline for assistance while dealing with persons in need of language services. Source: The Hindu

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