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Friday, 19 June, 2020, 15 : 00 PM [IST]

Solidarity in the time of crisis

The travel and tourism industry in Mumbai during the lockdown witnessed efforts from both individuals as well as associations which helped boost morale of players, especially small and medium establishments. The travel business was running into rough weather for quite some time and the imposition of sudden lockdown further aggravated the problem. Moreover, social media platforms were bombarded with negative posts further demotivating the travel trade fraternity. 

"I realised something needs to be done immediately," said Ajay Chhabria, Director, Intime Travels. He said that in the absence of any strict guidelines for regulating social media, people were posting negative and fake news which led to severe frustration among the stakeholders of the industry. 

“At that point, even before Zoom webinars became popular, I came up with the idea of conducting a WhatsApp, webinar and personally called up several of my industry colleagues and discussed the idea. They all agreed. After that, we conducted several webinars (b2b and b2c) where representative companies, DMC, Tourism Boards, airlines, etc. had participated. Besides, interactions, the webinars also witnessed product presentations, videos, etc. By organising webinars we have dispelled doubts and negative vibes that arises mainly due to lockdown and irresponsible social media postings by some individuals. This step helped them to keep away from negative thoughts," explained Chhabria.

Similarly, UTEN, which started as a WhatsApp group in March 2018, also extended their help in this hour of crisis. "We are conducting online educational webinars through travel experts so that our members learn from them and tide over the crisis. Besides this, we are also helping people in finding out alternate incomes who lost their jobs due to the pandemic," said Anil Kadavil, one of the Founding Members, UTEN. 

UTEN has been registered as a travel event LLP (Limited Liability Partner) company with GST compliance and now it is a regulated body.

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