Tag Archives: TAFI

TAFI convention to focus on ‘Innovate, Transform & Disrupt’

The Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) is ready to host its next annual convention in Abu Dhabi this year. With the theme ‘Innovate – Transform – Disrupt: Redefining the offline travel world’, the convention will be held from September 25-27, 2018 at Emirates Palace. Business Sessions have been planned keeping in mind the fast-changing world of travel, with disruption becoming a way of life. Bharat Shah, Managing Committee Member, will be chairing this year’s Convention. About 600 members from across the chapters have registered for this event. There will be a World Travel Agents Associations Alliance (WTAAA) meeting before the three-day convention begins in Abu Dhabi. The speakers at the convention will include two motivational speakers as well as some international speakers.

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TAFI to launch online B2B marketplace for members

The Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) has decided to launch an online B2B marketplace for its members. Sharing more details of this, Pradip Lulla, Vice President, TAFI, says, “We are coming up with an online platform for our members and it is already under construction. The idea is to have a marketplace where you can buy and also sell products. On the back end, we will tie up with suppliers – domestic and international. Initially, we will have more focus on accommodation including hotels and home-stays, and the airline products will follow. It will also have a payment gateway and we are talking to different companies for providing the payment solutions.” Speaking about the criteria for such a partner, Lulla adds that the cost for transactions should be lower and it should also be seamless with multiple options for payment. “The site is ready and we are only integrating the back end right now. It is not live yet. We will be releasing a beta version shortly to test it out and remove any bugs. Getting our members on it will take some time but we should have it active within two months. The members will need a login and password,” Lulla says. The name of the portal has not been finalised yet.

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TAFI Western India launches credit facility scheme with IHCL

The Western India Chapter of the Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) became the first association chapter to initiate a joint bank guarantee scheme for its members for hotels. It has started the pilot project with India Hotels Company Limited (IHCL). Abbas Moiz, Chairman, TAFI (Western India), said, “TAFI has signed an agreement for credit facility for small and mid-sized agents on the lines of a joint bank guarantee arrangement. With this, mid-sized agents will be able to get credit from IHCL for their domestic hotels for booking of up to eight rooms. This is a pilot that IHCL is running with the Western Indian Chapter of TAFI. It could be a new stream of income or business for agents. It is like getting recognition directly from the hotel rather than going through a third party aggregators or online portals. You are now getting a chance to create an identity for yourself and building a relationship with them with a very good arrangement and at a very good price.” Moiz adds that while some of them are already booking the hotel directly, this way offers a bit of leeway and extends a credit facility for at least for a month as long as they don’t cross that slab. “It allows you to pay through a centralised billing and accounting is not an issue here. It has its advantages and that is why we thought of offering this to our members,” he says.

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4th MPTM to be held in Bhopal from Oct 27-29

The 4th edition of Madhya Pradesh Travel Mart (MPTM) will be held from October 27-29, 2017 in Bhopal, informed Hari Ranjan Rao, Secretary, Tourism and Public Service Management and Managing Director, Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation. Over 200 national and international buyers and around 100 exhibitors of distinct Indian markets are expected to participate in the mart.According to Surendra Patwa, State Minister, Tourism and Culture (I/C), Kisan Kalyavan and Agriculture Development, Government of Madhya Pradesh, “I am hopeful that this year’s MPTM will open way for more investment in tourism sector in the state. This event will give us the opportunity to create a new tourism policy, water tourism policy, heritage policy, policy of providing accommodation facility centres and home state schemes.” With the theme, Seek-Discover-Explore, the mart will offer a B2B platform to bring together tourism stakeholders and representatives from heritage hotels, conference venues, tour operators and wildlife parks etc. The mart is supported by various trade organisations, like ADTOI, ATTOI, IATO, FAITH, TAAI and TAFI. Rao informed that this year, the number of attendees to the mart is expected to cross over 9 crore. International participants attending the show include representatives from Singapore, Spain, the UK, the US, the Netherlands, Germany, Norway, Thailand, Poland, Austria, Australia, France etc. Rao said, “The travel mart is an opportunity in which the tourism aspects of the state and the policies ad schemes are conveyed to the investors. In the last three years of the Travel mart in Bhopal, it has been experienced that through this one-to-one discussion with tourists, tourism, hospitality and participants of the hotel industry, the efforts being made for the expansion of the area are also being …

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Associations rush to conduct GST workshops for members

Various national travel trade associations in the country are rushing to conduct workshops on GST for their members and inform them on how the tax structure will impact their business. The Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) has organised a seminar with noted Service Tax expert, Manish Gadia, Partner, GMJ & Co to talk on Service Tax and GST and to reply to member queries. The Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) has also conducted a speaker session on GST. Following close on its heels will be the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI). Revealing this is Jay Bhatia, National Treasurer and Chairman (Tourism Council), TAAI, who said that the association will be doing a series of workshops on Service Tax and GST along with consultant Manish Gadia across the country.

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A disappointing act by Emirates

Disappointed by the latest circular by Emirates to cut down commissions to one per cent, Rajat Bagaria, Committee Member, The Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI), says, “Airlines should be encouraging their travel agency sales force rather than disarming them. Agents always considered EK as an agent-friendly airline, and we rewarded the airline with load factors from all the cities. However, this move brings them at par with other airlines. This comes at a time when the summer season is about to begin, and when we are already reeling under the Service Tax amendment impact. Coupled with the reduced commission, the web disparity, and direct promotions to the frequent fliers and corporates, the margins of the agents will be drastically hit. I hope they have call centres well equipped to handle customer calls and complaints.”

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Malaysia launches 15-day e-visa for Indians

In a move to boost Indian arrivals, Malaysia has launched a 15-day e-visa for travellers on a short visit. This was announced at a press conference in New Delhi by Malaysia’s Minister of Tourism and Culture, Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz. “India and Malaysia share great relations that go a long way back and we want to foster these ties. We decided to launch this e-visa for the benefit of travellers who visit the country for a short while and since it takes only 48 hours for approval, it is also useful for those who require it urgently,” he said. The e-visa includes a single-entry and costs $20. Tourism Malaysia and leaders from TAAI, TAFI and OTOAI also signed a commitment plaque fortifying each other’s commitment to promoting travel from India.With a focus on sustainable tourism, Malaysia is also pushing its special interest packages for premium shopping, luxury travels, sports tourism such as golf, and Malaysia as a wedding and honeymoon destination. India is the sixth top tourist generating market for Malaysia with a total 722,141 Indian visitors recorded in 2015. Last year, from January to October, Malaysia received a total of 540,530 Indian tourists. Malaysia hopes to achieve 1 million arrivals from the India market this year.

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TAFI plans symposium in Mumbai in Feb 2017

The Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) is planning to organise a day-long symposium in Mumbai in the third or fourth week of February 2017. The symposium will focus on issues like e-visas for inbound traffic, visa challenges for outbound traffic from India, GST and other topics that the Union Budget will touch upon. Sharing more details, Pradip Lulla, Vice President, TAFI, said, “We will get experts to address our members who will be not from Mumbai but also from Pune and surrounding areas. We will also invite stakeholders like airlines and consulates. Topics are yet to be firmed up.” TAFI had conducted a similar symposium in New Delhi in October 2016 where it had also launched its new logo. “We want to replicate this in other metro cities as well and discuss topics that are relevant for that particular region,” Lulla added.

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TAFI plans at least 2 symposiums in 2017

As part of its makeover plan, the Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) has announced that it will be organising at least two symposiums next year. Pradip Lulla, Vice President, TAFI, said, “We will have symposiums starting next year over and above our annual convention. One of our main objectives is to get on a digital platform where we can integrate our members. The Managing Committee is working on the details of the digital platform. We have already identified the platform but basic implementation needs to be firmed up. It will be confirmed by early next year. The symposium will discuss on how to improvise our existing Joint Bank Guarantee program. The convention details will be divulged by March 2017.” He added that TAFI is also looking at new ways of educating its members on how to do business better.

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