L-R: Sunil Kumar R, President, TAAI; Biji Eapen, President, IAAI; Abdul Fahim, Chapter Chairman, TAFI, Andhra Pradesh and Telengana; Jagat
Mehta, President, ETAA and Carl Dantas, Chairman Emiretus, ETAA
The second domestic convention of the Enterprising Travel Agent
Association (ETAA) took place at Leonia Holistic Resort on March
3 and 4 in Hyderabad. The proceedings of the convention started
with networking lunch. After that, delegates embarked on a site visit of the
resort in batches. This was then followed by a welcome gala dinner and
cultural programmee at Geo Garden.
The convention was unique in many ways. Firstly, it brought reputed
associations’ chiefs like Sunil Kumar, President, Travel Agents Association
of India and Biji Eapen, National President, IATA Agents Association of
India (IAAI) under one roof. Secondly, unlike other conventions, there
were no panel discussions and long speeches. The idea was to bring more
products in the limelight and presentations, so that the delegates learn
more about destinations which ultimately facilitate their business. Abdul
Fahim, Chapter Chairman, TAFI, Andhra Pradesh and Telengana, was also
present on the occasion. Around 225 delegates from across the country
participated in the event.
The convention started with a traditional lighting of lamp. Speaking
on the occasion, Carl Dantas, Chairman Emeritus, praised the present
ETAA team for organising such a wonderful event. Kumar congratulated
the organisers for selecting Hyderabad as the venue for the convention.
“The role of ETAA over the years has grown commendably well,” he said.
Kumar also said that 70% of the travel agents across the world are not
members of IATA and it is the same with India. “Taking due cognisance of
the fact, it seems that IATA is working on some schemes for them. And you
should be aware of this,” he exhorted. While Eapen emphasised on unity
of all associations, he appealed, “We do not have unity amongst ourselves,
it is time for all of us to get united and fight for our cause. If we do so, it will
help the industry to a great extent. Let’s start from this platform.”
Delegates listening with rapt attention at the convention
ETAA achieved a milestone by becoming an affiliated member of the
IIPT (International Institute of Peace Tourism). “It’s a major milestone in the
history of ETAA and the Indian travel industry,” Dantas said. The convention
also witnessed presentations from Leonia Resort, Telengana Tourism,
VFS Global and Fiji Tourism. There was a good mix of exhibitors right
from DMCs, hotels to transporters at the event. The Macao Government
Tourism Office, ICS Travel Group, Global Destinations, TSOGO SUN (THS
Representations), Leonia Resort, Telengana Tourism, etc. were some of the
exhibitors at the convention.
Speaking to TravelBiz Monitor, Dantas said that ETAA has come a
long way. “We
2011 closer to our
And now we
are hosting our
a pan India image in Hyderabad,” he said. During the first domestic
convention the total number of members were 200, today it stands 750.
Throwing light on the uniqueness of the event, Dantas said that he
choose to tread a different path and is always cautious not make the
convention monotonous. “I do not like that our members will sit down
and listen to people on how to do business. Rather we brought products
and presentations which are far more beneficial for the business of
our members,” he said. The event offered ample scope for networking
among the members and perhaps gave a new dimension to networking.
Explained Dantas, “Networking is just not mean cocktail and dinner; it
is building trust, synergy and do business.”
Palanisamy A, Sales & Marketing Head-India & UAE, ICS Travel
It’s an excellent platform to meet non-IATA members and network. At
the same time, it gives us a wonderful opportunity to penetrate as their
business partner. Next time, we would want an education session about
our destination with ETAA.
Nema Reshamvala, Business Manager, Global Destinations
It’s a brilliant platform which provided us an amazing exposure to
various agents located in different parts of the country. This convention
has helped us to reach out to right people under one roof. We created
further awareness about Fiji using this platform among the travel agents
which will help us to get more number of tourists from India. I am really
happy to participate here.
Tasneem H Sharafally, Proprietor, TSOGO SUN, THS Representations
ETAA provides an exposure to meet small agents across the country.
Educating them about our products is an achievement. I am sure, many
of such enquires will convert into business. The event is well organised
and we will participate in the next convention/exhibition of ETAA.
Irshad I Patel, Director, Discover Destinations, Tours & Travels
My experience is very good and the event is well organised. All
the upcoming destinations like Macao, Fiji, etc. participated in the
convention. We came to know in-depth about such destinations. The
uniqueness of the event is, people from other reputed associations have
also participated and threw light on different issues of the industry.
Meghna Gautam, Director, Hither & Thither, Tours & Travels Pvt Ltd
This is right platform to select proper DMCs. Nowadays, many people
claim to represent DMCs, but they are not. Dealing with them, we
understand that they are merely travel agents. This creates huge
confusion in terms of business as their services are not proper. We are
looking for more such events in the future.
Dipti Thakur, Director, Adventure Holidays
There is a right mix of exhibitors from hotels to DMCs to transporters.
As a tour operator I got a chance to interact with all types of companies.
As an adventure tour operator, I came across different offerings from
exhibitors both from India and abroad.
Endorsing Dantas’ view, Jagat Mehta, President, ETAA, said that the
aim of this convention is to build relationship among the members and
do business. “We are not discussing complicated tax issues here. We
will certainly discuss such issues, but in a different platform,” he said.
On educating the members, he said that they will do it on a regional
level. “We will discuss topics like high taxation and GST in different
zones of the country,” said Mehta. ETAA has already conducted such
programmes in Kolkata and Hyderabad in the recent past. Jaipur will
be the venue of their next programme. “We will conduct it in the next
one month,” he said.
Carl Dantas with Jagat Mehta
In their endeavour to spread its wings, ETAA recently opened its
chapter in Kolkata. “We want to increase the number of our members
and keeping Kolkata as our base, we will reach Assam and other North
Eastern states,” he said. Terming ETAA’s association with IIPT as feather
in the cap, he said that it will further increase the visibility of ETAA.
“With this development ETAA becomes an ambassador of peace.”
On choosing Hyderabad as venue for the convention, he said, “We
want to conduct our convention in a place which is not a big metro and
having good connectivity. We also like Leonia Resort and do not even
look for any hotel in Hyderabad city.”