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ETAA revamps National Body, vows to strengthen its national presence

The association will celebrate 2023-24 as silver jubilee year

The Enterprising Travel Agents’ Association (ETAA) held its National Board meeting in Mumbai and took some important decisions to strengthen its national presence further.In this meeting they have appointed two new chapter chairmen for Western and Northern regions. Jeevan Hendre and Saurab Tuteja have been appointed as Chairmen for Western and Northern regions respectively. Kaushik Banerjee and Princy K D will continue as chairmen for Eastern and Southern regions. “We appoint a new chapter chairman once he or she completes 5 years in that position. This is the tradition of our association,” said Carl Dantas, Chairman Emeritus, ETAA. The board also appointed Abhijeet Khadilkar, former National General Secretary and Dipti Thakoor as additional directors. Khadilkar will look after membership services while Thakoor will be responsible for sponsorship and events. Jagat Mehta and Dharmesh Advani will continue as President and National General Secretary of the association.“We are re-grouping in the post-pandemic scenario and trying to take ETAA forward in our silver jubilee year,” said Dantas. ETAA will celebrate 2023-24 as its silver jubilee year. To mark its 25th year, the association will organise two conventions-domestic and international. “In the next eighteen months we will organise domestic and international conventions and for that we have already initiated discussion with our people. Besides this, we have also decided to organise one large event in every quarter” revealed Dantas.

It was also decided in the meeting that ETAA will closely work with every state tourism board of the country. “We will support the domestic tourism sector also along with international tourism boards. Pandemic has taught us a big lesson and it is not prudent to depend only on one sector,” pointed out Dantas. According to him, an alternate source of income is imperative and they are going to introduce the concept among the ETAA members soon. “Our members must not depend only on travel business rather they should have allied products as well. We will soon initiate discussion with mobile service providers like Vodafone, Jio for roaming services. Besides this,we are also looking to tie up with luggage companies to make the travel experience better for the clients of our members,” said Dantas.

Meanwhile, ETAA had organised a knowledge session for its members in Mumbai on November 25. The session threw light on Vietnam as a destination and Global Destinations, an eminent Mumbai based representation company, made an elaborate presentation. Post Pandemic, the demand of Indians choosing Vietnam as a desirable destination has continued to increase. Venkatesan Dhattareyan, Regional Director, West & Central Region, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, also attended the event as a special guest.

Speaking to TravelBiz Monitor, Jagat Mehta, President, ETAA, said that they have selected Vietnam as the destination is fast emerging. “Besides this the country is tourist friendly and also a value for money destination for travellers, ” pointed out Mehta. He also said that another workshop is slated to be held on December 9 with Argentina tourism. “The workshop will take place at the Argentina Consulate office in Mumbai,” Mehta revealed. ETAA is also taking its members for an educational trip to Nepal early next year. “In February next year, we are taking our members to Nepal for an educational trip with a discounted rate and the response is very good,” he said.

Speaking on the sidelines of the event, Pruthvi Khetani, COO, Global Destinations, said that Vietnam has emerged as the number one destination for the Indian tourists this year. In this direction, he appreciates VietJet airline’s effort to connect important cities of India with Vietnam. “The duration of flight is between 5-5.30 hours only, hence making it a short haul destination,” Khetani pointed out.

The most in-demand destinations by Indians include Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Phu Quoc, Quy Nhon, Danang, Hoi An, Nha Trang, Phan Thiet, Dalat, and Halong. Khetani believes that Indian travellers are giving preference to Vietnam over Thailand and Singapore now. “No doubt, Thailand remains a number one destination for the Indian travellers today but Vietnam is giving a stiff competition to them,” he said. According to him, Vietnam is getting a good response from travellers from Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad and Delhi. “Now business from the Eastern region of India is also picking up. As far as segments are concerned, Fits, Honeymooners, luxury and Mice contribute most in the business,” he said.

Khetani is optimistic that Vietnam as a destination would register a healthy growth in the next 3-4 years in terms of the arrival of Indians. “There are many Indian restaurants in the tourist places of Vietnam which will help fuel the growth,” he pointed out.

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