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Friday, 19 March, 2021, 10 : 45 AM [IST]

TAAI brings the spotlight on Kevadia, Gujarat with its four-day conclave

The Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) conducted a four-day conclave from March 9 to 12 in Kevadia, Gujarat to educate its members and promote the state as a tourism destination for domestic as well inbound tourists. TAAI members from 20 regions and chapters across India joined the conclave. 

Members of the trade were going through challenging times due to the Covid-19 pandemic and this gave an opportunity for transformation, and ability to explore, said Jyoti Mayal, President, TAAI. 

Delegates experienced accommodation options at the sight with visit to the Statue of Unity, Sardar Sarovar Dam and the nearby attractions. Besides a range of discussions on topical issues kept the members engaged on the way forward. Union Tourism Minister, Prahlad Singh Patel joined the conclave via video conferencing.

Member delegates experienced the accommodation and facilities at Tent City 1 and Tent City 2 at Kevadia along with evening dinner cruise along the River Narmada with dinner in 2 groups. Besides Statue of Unity, visit for Jungle Safari, Valley of Flowers, Cactus & Butterfly Garden was undertaken. Delegates also visited the 5 gardens inside Arogya Van (Herbal Garden), which exhibits a wide range of medicinal plants and health related landscapes. Members also visited the cultural shopping arena of Ekta Mall in the SoU region.

This initiative by TAAI ensured members were familiarised with the region to promote Dekho Apna Desh and revive the promotion of domestic and inbound tourism through skilling and personal experiencing, said Vice President, Jay Bhatia.

A half-day business session was organised which was addressed by Union Minister of Tourism Prahlad Singh Patel, via a video message. He welcomed the initiative of India’s largest and premier travel-tourism association, TAAI, which has set an historic example of positivity due to the changing times. He added that TAAI membership has all aspects of tourism professional organisations and in the coming future the responsibility and challenges shall increase when inbound tourist commence their India visits. TAAI members must be ready with newer ideas and statergies to ensure Tourism to India is facilitated by them in a smooth manner.

Jenu Devan, Commissioner of Tourism and MD, Gujarat Tourism, addressed the conclave via live video call wherein he highlighted the initiatives of the government in promoting Gujarat to the world and thanked the TAAI committee for bringing their members to SoU, in Gujarat and also assured full support and encouragement to the members in promoting Gujarat as a wholesome destination.

Bettaiah Lokesh, Hon. Secretary General, TAAI, gave an overview of the business sessions stating that, the inaugural address was an eye-opener. A panel discussion moderated by Bhatia on Bharat ka Vikas – Empowering Domestic Tourism, had panellist like Dr. Achyut Singh Jt. General Manager- Indian Railways (IRCTC) who spoke about connecting tourist up to the list mile and how TAAI members could promote rail packages to travellers across India. A presentation was also made by Dr Singh for members to register and connect with IRCTC.  Ajay Kumar Wadhawan, Chief of Sales, Air Asia India, participated in the panel citing views of newer airports and air connectivity across smaller airports in India as well. Past President of TAAI, Balbir Mayal gave his views on the changing dynamics in the travel and tourism field of the last few decades and how India shall be a top tourist destination in the world with the joint initiatives of TAAI on skilling and educational capabilities with state tourism boards, airlines, railways etc.

This was followed by a discussion on “Where Winners Play” a panel moderated by  Ashish Gupta, Founder – Strategy Pluto and Consulting CEO of FAITH. A healthy debate with IATA and its functioning was undertaken with Rodney Dcruz, Asst. Director IATA who presented the views, perceptions and future of IATA. Lokesh represented TAAI and was vocal is representing the core issues of the membership with IATA and the airlines. Sunil Kumar Rumalla, President, UFTAA, gave a global view of the challenges faced by agents across the world with IATA and made suggestive recommendations to IATA so as to ensure survival of the airlines as well as the agents.

A discussion moderated by  Amish Desai, TAAI Karnataka Chapter Chairman along with Parineeta Sethi, Chief Editor & Publisher of Pinnacle Connect, a leading media company in wellness and luxury with Vasudha Sondhi, MD, OMPL Group. Mayal, Chairperson Tourism and Hospitality Skill Counsil (THSC), also participated in the panel discussing customer satisfaction in tourism through technology, marketing and skilling. With their expertise in sales, marketing, PR and social media, technology and skill development, the panellist suggested how today’s evolving TAAI member must pursue and be empowered with all the skills apart from delivery of service. She also updated on the upcoming initiatives of WITT (Women in TAAI and Travel), where TAAI shall give back to society and empower the women to become entrepreneurs through skilling and work towards making India a safe and secure tourism destination.

Appreciating the efforts and initiative of Gujarat Government and Gujarat Tourism to invite TAAI and its members to SoU, Hon. National Treasurer-TAAI, Shreeram Patel in his vote of thanks emphasised TAAI’s role in growth and development of the trade. He thanked the vision of Gujarat Minister of Tourism Jawahar bhai Chavda, who along with Principal Secretary Tourism - Gujarat,. Mamta Verma, Commissioner Tourism and MD of Gujarat Tourism, Jenu Devan and Nirav Munshi – Manager Commercial (Travel & Marketing) along with other officials gave full support to TAAI. He also thanked IndiGo who were the sole airline which ensured delegates from every corner of India connected to Gujarat for this conclave.

More such conclaves across the country shall be organised in association with State Tourism boards in the near future which shall educate, skill and empower the trade members of TAAI to promote Incredible India, stated Mayal.

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