Tag Archives: OTOAI

OTOAI waives off annual membership fee for FY 2021 – 2022: Riaz Munshi

The Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI) has waived off the annual membership fee for the financial year 2021 – 22. The association has reduced the fees by 50% for the financial year 2020 – 2021. Riaz Munshi, President, OTOAI said, “This is not the time to make money or fill up reserves. We understand the plight of our fellow industry colleagues and this gesture is our way of showing our solidarity to them. The outbound from India has been severely affected and it will indeed take a while before things go back to normal. The second wave has hit all businesses, especially tourism (which had started to pick a little in December / January) severely and different entry laws / requirements by different countries has made outbound travel very challenging. I would also like to urge people in the travel fraternity to get themselves vaccinated at the earliest possible so that whenever tourism opens, our customers do not hesitate reaching out to us and it will also send out a positive message to the world.”

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OTOAI waives off annual membership fee for FY 2021 – 2022

Keeping in mind the prevailing tough times where the tourism sector has been one of the worst hits, the Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI) has waived off the annual membership fee for the financial year 2021 – 22. The Association had reduced the fees by 50% for the financial year 2020 – 2021. The move is a testament of the fact that the association recognises and empathises with the challenges being faced by the outbound tour operators in India today.   Riaz Munshi, President, OTOAI said, “This is not the time to make money or fill up reserves. We understand the plight of our fellow industry colleagues and this gesture is our way of showing our solidarity to them. The outbound from India has been severely affected and it will indeed take a while before things go back to normal. The second wave has hit all businesses, especially tourism (which had started to pick a little in December / January) severely and different entry laws/requirements by different countries has made outbound travel very challenging. I would also like to urge people in the travel fraternity to get themselves vaccinated at the earliest possible so that whenever tourism opens, our customers do not hesitate to reach out to us and it will also send out a positive message to the world.”

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Spain & Slovakia agree to issue Gratis Visa to Indians in view of COVID-19

In a major development, Embassies of Spain and Slovakia have agreed to issue ‘Gratis Visa’ to all Indians who were issued a visa earlier this year but could not undertake travel in the last few months because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The decision came following the appeal by OTOAI, which had sent a letter to European Embassies in India, requesting them to issue Gratis Visas to all those travellers who despite having received valid travel visas this year could not undertake the planned visits. Riaz Munshi, President, OTOAI said, “We are pleased with this development and remain hopeful that in times to come, more European Embassies agree to issuing Gratis Visa. We understand that it will take some time for outbound travel to pick up from India but moves such as these will help in building people’s confidence for international travel while also offering some relief to their pocket. This is the time to show solidarity so that together we can get travel and tourism back on its feet.” This will benefit a lot of Indian travellers who couldn’t travel due to the Covid restrictions. Ivan Lancaric, Ambassador of the Slovak Republic to India said, “Applicants, who could not travel on their Schengen visas to Slovakia, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, can apply for this visa fee waiver individually at the time of the submission of their new application. This possibility covers not only tourists, but all the Schengen visa categories. We are keen on promoting travel destinations in Slovakia, my visa section will assist the tourists travelling to Slovakia in this matter once they reapply for a Schengen visa.” “Please be informed that the Embassy of Spain will reissue …

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OTOAI asks embassies to issue Gratis Visas for all unused visas

OTOAI has recently written a letter to almost all European Embassies in India, requesting them to issue Gratis Visas to those travellers, who despite having a valid travel visa, could not undertake the planned holiday. Riaz Munshi, President, OTOAI, says, “OTOAI has written to most of the European Embassy requesting them to issue a Gratis Visa to the visitors who despite having paid and processed the Visa fee and due procedure, could not undertake the journey for reasons known to all of us.”

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Travel trade associations meet Tourism Minister seeking support and financial help

A combined united delegation of four travel trade associations (IATO, ADTOI, ATOAI and OTOAI) led by IATO President Pronab Sarkar met the Tourism Minister, Prahlad Singh Patel in Delhi to discuss various grievances faced by tour operators amid ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The minister heard out the delegation at length and also addressed issues individually faced by the associations. The Minister has assured all possible support and said the ministry has already reached out to the Finance Minister for industry-specific relief. Associations representatives felt content after the meeting and expressed gratitude to the Minister for giving them a patient hearing. The Minister has called out for a united stand of the industry to fight the pandemic and overcome all the challenges. Apart from the President, Rajiv Mehra, Vice President represented IATO while, heads of other associations, Captain Swadesh Kumar, PP Khanna and Riaz Munshi represented ATOAI, ADTOI and OTOAI. From the ministry, Rakesh Sharma, Joint Secretary, MOT and Meenakshi Sharma, DG, Tourism were present during the meeting.

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OTOAI meets Jt. Secretary, Finance, to revoke TCS implementation

The team of Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI), recently met Kamlesh Varshney, Joint secretary, TPL, Ministry of Finance, to apprise him of situations arising currently on tourism industry because of TCS. In a statement by the association, it was mentioned, “We requested that TCS be not implemented and deferred in present situation. He assured that our request will be positively looked into and they would consider our request of rolling back of the law, and if rollback is not possible then deferment will be considered.” Riaz Munshi, President, OTOAI; Shravan Bhalla, Gen. Secretary; Guldeep Singh Sahni, Former President and Rajeev Sabharwal, Former Treasurer, met the Joint Secretary to voice their concerns.

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5th OTOAI convention in Turkey gets postponed

In the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak across the world, the Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI) has decided to postpone its Convention to another date. The Convention was scheduled to take place in Antalya, Turkey from March 15-18, 2020. Once things are back to normal, the OTOAI Convention will take place in Turkey with fresh dates. Riaz Munshi, President, OTOAI shares, “It is unfortunate that we had to postpone the convention, but given the prevailing circumstances, we thought it is best to do so. The decision has been taken keeping the safety of our delegates in mind as we would never do anything that might put their health in jeopardy. I am sure that the effect and spread of Covid-19 will subside with time and once that happens, we will re-announce the convention with a fresh set of dates.” Himanshu Patil, Vice President and Convention Chairman, OTOAI, added, “We would like to thank all the members of the travel trade, media and our partners in Turkey who have been extremely supportive. We look forward to your continued support in the future also and we are confident that as soon as the Covid-19 cases are curbed, we will announce the new dates of the convention.” In a statement, the Destination Turkey said, “Turkey is very eager to host all the delegates and the preparations are still in order. While Turkey has not reported a single confirmed case of COVID-19, the decision has purely been taken keeping the various travel advisories being issued in mind.”

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Tourism’s potential disregarded once again: OTOAI

Mahendra Vakharia, President, OTOAI, is disappointed with the Budget. He says, “It is very disappointing that this year’s Budget has not looked at the tourism industry in any area in spite of it being a subject very dear to the heart of our Prime Minister and in spite of the fact that the tourism industry is among the top five industries/sectors that contributes to the growth of the country’s GDP, creates employment, and generates foreign exchange. Truly, very sad and disappointing.”

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Inner Mongolia organises culture seminar to attract Indian tourists

The Department of Culture and Tourism of Inner Mongolia, autonomous region of the People’s Republic of China organised the Inner Mongolia Culture and Tourism Festival as part of the ongoing Chinese New Year festivities. Representing the travel trade, Chitra Bhatia, General Secretary, OTOAI and Rajeev Sabharwal, EC Member, OTOAI were present at the event. Hosted by the Chinese Embassy in India and the Government of Inner Mongolia, the promotional event was aimed to promote and attract tourists to the region of northern China. Briefing about the attractions in Inner Mongolia, Shi Mo, Deputy General Secretary, People’s Government of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, introduced the guests while Ai Lihua, Vice Chairman, People’s Government of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and Zhu Xiaohong, Culural Counsellor, Chinese Embassy in India presented the welcome remarks. On the ocassion, He Zhiliang, Director of Department of Culture and Tourism, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region said, “This is the first time we have come to India to promote Inner Mongolia province. We are trying to promote the culture of Inner Mongolia by showcasing it through a art performance by ‘Anda Union’. I hope the Indian audience will like this event and visit Inner Mongolia.” During the event, a cooperation agreement was signed between Zhong Xin International Travel Co and Delhi-based Pettitts India Tours.

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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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