Category Archives: Associations

3rd edition of TravTalk Digital Conclave to focus on the way forward with COVID 19

After the overwhelming response for the first and second editions of its Digital Conclave, TravTalk is all set to bring the third edition of the online conference on May 15 from 10 am to 1:30 pm, which would discuss pertinent issues in the industry at the time of COVID-19 crisis. There will be 3 sessions of 1 hour each and will see experts from different segments of travel, deliberating on the way forward. The panelists for first session, titled ‘The Reality of NO tourism!’ will be Rajiv Mehra from IATO, Bharat Atree from Caper Travel Company, and Debjit Dutta from Impression Tourism Services. Second session, titled ‘Hotels in the age of social distancing. Where are the robots?’ will have Mandeep Lamba from HVS ANAROCK, Dilip Puri from Indian School of Hospitality and Jatin Khanna from Marriot Hotels. For the third session, titled ‘Big ticket business! When do we start looking at weddings, corporate and M!CE travel?’, the panelists include Rajeev Jain from Rashi Entertainment, Rajdev Bhattacharya from Wipro Limited, and Rajeev Kale from Thomas Cook India.

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Educating our members is a priority during lockdown: PP Khanna

PP Khanna, President, Association of Domestic Tour Operators of India (ADTOI), has said that while the industry is talking about domestic tourism, they are taking the lead in educating their members on different destinations and hotels. “We at ADTOI of making our members utilise the time during the lockdown period in learning to promote domestic tourism more effectively. Hence, we spoke to a few states, tourism boards, and hotels for educating our members online, so that they can take benefit of the time in hand and learn about the potential of domestic tourism and tourist spots of the state. Also, they can learn about the hotels to promote them and learn about the steps the hotels are taking for the safety and security of the clients. Hence, we started talking to some of the state tourism boards, like Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal, who came forward and gave the presentation to our members. We also spoke to hotels to give education about their hotels, so that after the educational programmes, the members can promote those hotels. Hence, brands like ITC, Taj, and Accor have already conducted educational programmes for our members and we are continuing with other hotel chains also,” he said.

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MOT shall give bail-out package or 50% staff salary of MOT recognised companies

Subhash Goyal, Secretary General, FAITH, has said that there hasn’t been much happening from the Government’s side to help the industry to revive it from the impact of COVID-19 crisis, unlike other countries. “We have asked the Governments since the beginning that either give us a bail-out package, or at least give 50% salary of employees of MOT recognised operators/agents after getting the list of their employees and respective salaries from them, which is already mentioned in the balance sheet. This needs to be done if the Government wants to save the industry,” he said.

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IATO elections postponed until lockdown is lifted; conducting elections online a possibility

For a second time, IATO has decided to defer its biennial election till such time the lockdown restrictions are lifted. The Returning Officer for IATO Elections 2020, Akshay Kumar in a meeting with IATO EC also decided that even post lifting of restrictions the association will need to accommodate the process of companies having to rebuild the business and open operations. Another meeting is scheduled for June-end, where an informed decision will be taken. IATO will also explore the viability of conducting online elections if the need arises. In the interim, the Office Bearers, EC and Chapter Chairmen of IATO are hereby allowed to work as normal with no restrictions.

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100 to 120 million direct tourism jobs at risk even if travel restrictions eased: UNWTO

The latest data from UNWTO shows that at least 100 million direct tourism jobs are at risk across the world even if international borders are gradually opened and travel restrictions are eased as early as July 2020. Should these closures and restrictions be extended up to early September or early December, the international tourism community faces the risk of as many as 120 million direct job losses. Prospects for the year have been downgraded several times since the outbreak and uncertainty continues to dominate. Though domestic demand is expected to recover faster than international demand, a majority of the industry feels, according to UNWTO, that signs of recovery will be visible only by Q4 2020, but mostly in 2021.

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TAFI files writ plea to Supreme Court for airline refunds

Pradip Lulla, President, Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) has revealed that the association has asked the Supreme Court to intervene in a petition concerning the refund of air tickets bought for travel during the COVID-19 lockdown period. The primary plea was moved by the NGO Pravasi Legal Cell on April 27, 2020. He says, “This was done on May 6, 2020 through NGO Pravasi Legal on behalf of TAFI. But this is for all air ticket issuing agents in India. I estimate that the total volume of refunds would come to around Rs 800-Rs 900 crore as bookings were made not just for the summer holidays but also for student travel. This is for bookings made for all airlines – Indian as well as international. While we have approached the concerned authorities in the past through FAITH, the airlines have said that they will give refunds only after three months.” crucial funds remain blocked with the airlines for travel not undergone and which, in fact, has been cancelled. Lulla adds that some airlines have divided their bookings as per zones where Zone 1 is US, Zone 2 is Europe, and Zone 3 is South East Asia and for these they are giving refunds, but not for India that comes under Zone 4. “In Zone 4, they are changing penalty for cash refunds even when flight schedules are cancelled. We hope to hear from the Supreme Court on this issue soon,” Lulla adds on a positive note.    

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FAITH requests CMs of all Indian states for state specific support package

Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality (FAITH) has appealed to the Chief Ministers of each state for coming up with a state specific package. FAITH has shared with each state their share of domestic and foreign tourists and how most of those total tourist footfalls will now not be available for 2020-21. A statement released by the association mentioned that almost all of India’s top performing foreign source markets for tourism (USA, Canada, UK, Germany, China, Japan, Singapore, Russia, Italy, Spain), are severely impacted and are not likely to travel before FY 2021 – 22. Owing to this, tourism business has come to a standstill in FY 2020-21. “The interstate domestic season which happens almost 60%+ in the April – July period has collapsed for the year FY 2020 – 21 and will be negligent for the rest of year with stringent travel restrictions and reduced connectivity across Indian states. FAITH has been repeatedly saying to all key Government bodies that the Tourism industry of India first needs to SURVIVE, then needs to REVIVE and then only can it THRIVE,” read the statement. FAITH has appealed to the Chief Ministers of each state for coming up with a state specific package. A complete waiver of all fixed electricity and other utility charges for FY 2020-21 without any penalties. A complete waiver of all excise duties for FY 2020-21 without any penalties. A renewal of all licenses, permits, permissions which were expiring in FY 2020-21 without any financial charges or penalties. A refund of the FY 2019-20 of SGST collected from all travel agents, tourist transporters, hotels, tour operators, restaurants and any other tourism, travel & hospitality enterprises in …

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IATO writes to PMO for formulation of survival plans for tourism industry

The Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) has written a letter to PM Narendra Modi for formulating survival and revival plans for the crisis-ridden tourism industry in the country. Fearing a huge impact of COVID-19 on the industry, the association has demanded a sectoral bail-out package. In its recommendations, IATO listed out several immediate relief measures required for survival on both short-term and long-term basis. Along with that, the association also listed out steps to be taken by government for revival of the industry post pandemic. The demands include measures such as enhanced value of SEIS to 10 %; extension of SEPC membership till 31st March 2021; payroll support for salaries; deferment of statutory loans and withdrawal of TCS among others.

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Domestic tourists aged 18-35 will travel first; short-haul countries to pick up next: WTTC

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has outlined what the ‘new normal’ will look like as countries begin to end their COVID-19 lockdowns and ease travel restrictions. As travel gradually returns to normal over the coming months, WTTC predicts that the first to return will be domestic markets with staycations, then to a country’s nearest neighbours before expanding across regions, and then finally across continents to welcome the return of journeys to long-haul international destinations. WTTC also believes that younger travellers in the 18-35 age group, who appear to be less vulnerable to COVID-19, may also be among the first to begin travelling once again. The tourism council also informs that new protocols and standards are being defined following feedback and multiple conversations with WTTC members, as well as collaboration from associations who represent the different travel sectors.

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Asia to witness fastest visitor recovery when things resume; intra-region travel to herald growth: PATA

According to a newly updated forecast by Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), growth in international arrivals relative to 2019 figures is expected to rebound the fastest in Asia over the years to 2024. The release also suggests that this growth will be driven by intra-regional travel (Asia-to-Asia), with a rebound from a loss of almost 98 million arrivals between 2019 and 2020 to an increase of over 17 million between 2019 and 2021. All the source regions of Asia are projected to show growth between 2019 and 2021, with Europe and the Americas in particular, adding increases in arrivals of 2.5 million and 1.7 million, respectively over that period. By the end of 2021, Asia is predicted to have visitor arrivals numbering five per cent more than in 2019.

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