Tag Archives: Travel Agents Association of India

TAAI to sign MoU with Malaysia

TAAI Western Region will sign an MoU with Malaysia Tourism on June 22, 2017 in Mumbai to offer training workshops to its members in the Western Region. The workshop is titled ‘Malaysia – Beyond KL’ and will be offered to frontliners and representatives of tour operators. The association also launched a concise booklet on Malaysia that features 1,001 packages and aims to serve as a ready-reckoner for agents who want to sell the destination. Sampat Damani, Chairman Western Region, Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI)adds, “Fourteen states from Malaysia have worked out detailed packages in this booklet along with pricing. Agents just need to look at it.”

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TAAI signs agreement with South Africa Tourism to educate agents across India

South Africa Tourism (SAT) and Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) have once again entered into an agreement to offer training to travel agents across India. Learn SA in its seventh edition will hold training programs in over 17 cities in India where TAAI members are situated, starting from July 6-29, 2017. The schedule will cover Tier II and Tier III cities of India starting from Mumbai, Rajkot, Baroda, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Delhi, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore, Coimbatore, Indore,  Nagpur, Pune and Goa. Mumbai and Delhi will host two sessions each. DMCs, hoteliers and other stakeholders of tourism from South Africa shall be a part of the B2B interactions and presentations made by SAT. Detailed presentations on itineraries and attractions in South Africa shall be made during each session. Hon. Secretary General of TAAI, Bettaiah Lokesh, says, “We shall be giving a ‘Certificate of Participation’ to each agent along with study materials.” Jay Bhatia, Hon. National Treasurer, TAAI, adds, “The training shall be open to all travel agents and professionals across the country who are already selling SA or have a potential to promote the destination to tourist. This shall be offered free of cost to the entire trade, so as to promote the destination and also to ensure continuous education and updates on tourism products.” This agreement was undertaken under the Preferred Partner Programme wherein destinations are promoted by TAAI to educate its members and the trade at large.

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TAAI hosts GST session for its members in Mumbai

Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) hosted a session on Goods and Services Tax (GST) for its members in Mumbai. Service Tax expert CA Manish Gadia from GMJ & Co gave an insight on how GST will come into play. TAAI has initiated GST training sessions in cities such as Kolkata, Ahmedabad and now Mumbai. Revealing more is Jay Bhatia, Hon. Treasurer & Tourism Council Chairman, TAAI. “By June 30, we plan to complete these sessions in all the 20 cities across the country where TAAI is present. Subsequently by July-August we will have detailed session as the government gives more clarity on GST. Currently, we are not happy with the GST rates and we will be making representation through FAITH to the government which is definitely going to be reviewed by the government but as of now the current intention of the government is to implement GST from 1st of July. Once it is implemented we have assurance from the government that they will look into the issues faced by agents and take the right steps,” he said. Sampat Damani, Chairman – Western Region, TAAI, commented, “Although we received notifications from the government but still a lot of things are not clear. With GST being very complex we see tourism and hospitality industry getting a big hit. Like demonetisation we may see day to day changes by the government which will be a chaos for the next 6-8 months. We were supposed to go into a paperless scenario but here with 37 returns to be filed annually we are taking a step backward instead of going forward.”

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TAAI Western Region calls for nominations

Sampat Damani, Chairman Western Region, Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), has urged members from the Western Region Chapter to come forward and file for nominations for the upcoming elections. He said, “The elections will be in July 2017 but the dates are not yet fixed. We will announce the last date for filing the nominations once we firm up the election dates.” Speaking about his term as the Chairmain for the region, Damani added, “I am grateful to my members of the region for the support they extended to me in my tenure. They are keen on me continuing for another term. But its time I moved out and made space for some young blood from our association. My earnest request to all members is to please come forward for the elections. Being part of the MC entails hard work but gives a lot of satisfaction of doing good work. It’s their chance to give something back to the association and the industry at large.” He also said that when his team took charge in 2015, TAAI Western Region had 375 members. “In this term, we added 22 members but also terminated 35 memberships because of inactivity. We now have interested and committed members. TAAI credentials means agents whom travellers can trust,” Damani added.

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AI increases IATA agent’s payout at TAAI’s behest

Air India has led the way towards increasing agents livelihood and recognising their distribution channel. Subsequent to an in-depth interaction with the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) and its suggestions made to the national carrier, the airline has announced a new assured incentive/PLB Scheme for the FY 2017-18. Air India will file additional commission of two per cent with BSP and the same will be deducted by agent as cut and pay as per BSP cycle. This will be apart from the normal IATA commission of one per cent. Jyoti Mayal, TAAI member Managing Committee & Chairperson (Airline Council), says, “We really appreciate Air India’s move to recognise and support each and every IATA agent. After a long time, I feel that our industry is regaining its glory. Under the leadership of CMD Ashwani Lohani, we have seen them work very closely with the travel fraternity – first by bringing in credit cards then web parity and now with a level playing field where every agent gets incentivised on selling each and every ticket on Air India. I would now urge all IATA members to support our national carrier to make it a leading carrier in Indian skies. As an Airline Council Chairperson, I would love to see our national airline regaining its glory and profitability. We at TAAI took this initiative with the airline to set standards in the industry and promote all agents.” The incentives shall be calculated on basic fare for domestic and for international it will be calculated on Basic Fare +YQ. There is no target for the scheme and will be valid for all tickets sold within the territory of India by IATA agents …

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Emirates will lose its lustre

Reacting to the announcement made by Emirates, Sunil Kumar, National President, Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) says, “Not only is this an unfair move but also a move that has come at the wrong time. Travel agents have always supported Emirates in a big way by promoting them to their customers. As a result of this move, Emirates will lose its edge as agents will now move to other airlines. After all, why would anyone want to push a product that doesn’t give them any benefit? So, this move will not only hurt the agents but also the airline. The airline has also timed it badly as agents had already committed to a price structure for future bookings beyond April 2017. This abrupt announcement will hurt the agents a lot as the main season starts from April onwards. We were still recovering from demonetisation when this is announced. The team at TAAI is currently discussing what the association’s response to Emirates should be.”

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Indian tour operators have lost all ground to compete with global OTAs

Jay Bhatia, Hon. National Treasurer, Travel Agents Association of India, says, that although the effective rate of tax for a tour operator has increased, the government has removed restrictions on claiming CENVAT credit of the input services. “Now the input credit for all eligible services can be claimed. However, the hotels don’t give a break cost and the competition faced from OTAs still shall persist as regards to a tour operator. The Government is losing a lot of service tax as well as the loss in terms of foreign exchange going out when travellers book through the OTAs. The Indian tour operators have lost all ground to compete with the global OTAs who are promoting and selling online.”

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TAAI signs MoU with Mumbai’s DY Patil University

The Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) has signed an academia-industry partnership MoU with the School of Tourism and Hospitality at DY Patil University in Nerul in Mumbai’s Navi Mumbai region. It was signed on December 2, 2016 between Vandana Mishra Chaturvedi, Director, School of Hospitality and Tourism Studies, DY Patil University and Jay Bhatia on behalf of TAAI at the second International Conference on Tourism and Hospitality held for the students at the university campus. Bhatia shall also be on the advisory board of DY Patil University. Sampat Damani, Chairman Western Region, TAAI, said, “We are continuing with our agenda to educate and mentor Generation Next with relevant training and making the curriculum more to the industry specific. It is a historic day for the industry when two giants the DYPU and TAAI have signed an MoU to ensure students and the future of the tomorrow are so keen to be a part of the tourism and hospitality industry.”

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Zubin Karkaria honoured with TAAI’s ‘Award of Distinction’

Zubin Karkaria, CEO of VFS Global, and CEO of Kuoni Group, was conferred with the ‘Award of Distinction’ by the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), for his long-standing contribution to the Indian travel and tourism industry. The award was presented to Karkaria at the 63rd TAAI Convention held in Abu Dhabi on 14 October 2016. The award recognises his pioneering and entrepreneurial spirit and his role as a mentor in the industry. Presently, VFS Global serves 51 client governments and operates in 126 countries across 5 continents. The company, which pioneered the concept of visa process outsourcing, has facilitated travel across the world by enhancing efficiencies in the visa application process and making the overall visa application experience easier and more convenient for potential travellers. The ISO 27001:2013 certified company (for Information Security Management System) has been recognized for maintaining highest levels of security, while adhering to best practices in technology, innovation, and streamlined service delivery. Karkaria, who has been a part of the travel industry for more than 25 years, established visa processing multinational VFS Global in 2001. In 2015, he became the first Asian to head the Switzerland headquartered Kuoni Group.

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TAAI requests for IATA workshop in smaller cities

After the success of its joint initiative with TAFI recently, the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) has requested IATA to conduct workshops on the IBSP billing system in smaller cities as well. Jay Bhatia, Hon. National Treasurer & Chairman Tourism Council, TAAI, said, “We have requested IATA to cover smaller cities like Rajkot, Indore, Bhopal, Srinagar, Jalandhar and Amritsar as well. We are confident that this too shall be soon taken up in case the agents require the same once the system is implemented around mid of October 2016.” The workshop that was conducted in metro cities from September 14 in 16 chapters across India until September 29, 2016 saw more than 1,200 IATA agents sign up. It updated them on the new reports that shall be generated and the process to understand the same. Bhatia added, “We shall have a clearer picture on the same as detailed queries will start only once it is implemented. This round of workshop included only the theory aspect.”

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