India’s premier and largest Travel-Tourism Association, Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), recently conducted a Tourism Conclave from 9th to 12th March 2021. This was organised in association with Gujarat Tourism. Members from 20 Regions and Chapters across India participated in the 3nights/ 4days event at Kevadia.
The conclave was organised to educate the travel trade members and promote Gujarat as a Tourism Destination for domestic as well as inbound tourist, stated TAAI President, Mrs Jyoti Mayal. Members of the trade were going through challenging times due to the Covid-19 pandemic and this gave an opportunity for them to adapt to transformation, and the ability to explore, she stated.
Member delegates experienced the accommodation and facilities at Tent City 1 and Tent City 2 at Kevadia along with an evening dinner cruise along the River Narmada with dinner in 2 groups.
Sightseeing of the tallest statue in the world at Statue of Unity(SoU), Jungle Safari, Sardar Sarovar Dam Project, 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.
The Statue of Unity depicting the Iron Man of India, Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, is aimed to inspire generations with Sardar Patel’s vision on Unity, Patriotism, inclusive growth and good governance.
Members also visited the cultural shopping arena of Ekta Mall in the SoU region.
This initiative of TAAI shall ensure 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, stated Vice President, Jay Bhatia.
A half-day business session was organised on 11th March 2021 which was addressed by Hon. Minister of Tourism, Govt of India, Shri Prahlad Singh Patel, via a video message. He welcomed the initiative of India’s largest and premier travel- tourism association, TAAI, which has set a 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 strategies to ensure Tourism to India is facilitated by them in a smooth manner.
Mr 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.
Hon. Secretary-General, Mr Bettaiah Lokesh gave an overview of the business sessions stating that the inaugural address was an eye-opener and vision for members on Domestic Tourism by President Jyoti Mayal. A panel discussion moderated by Vice President Jay 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 last 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. Mr Ajay Kumar Wadhawan, Chief of Sales at 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, Mr 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 Mr Ashish Gupta, Founder – Strategy Pluto and Consulting CEO of FAITH. A healthy debate with IATA and its functioning was had with Mr Rodney Dcruz, Asst. Director IATA presented the views, perceptions and future of IATA. HSG, Bettaiah Lokesh represented TAAI and was vocal is representing the core issues of the membership with IATA and the airlines. Mr Sunil Kumar Rumalla, President of 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 the survival of the airlines as well as the agents.
A discussion moderated by Mr Amish Desai, TAAI Karnataka Chapter Chairman along with Ms Parineeta Sethi, Chief Editor & Publisher of Pinnacle Connect, a leading media company in wellness and luxury with Ms Vasdha Sondhi, MD Om Marketing. Mrs Jyoti Mayal, Chairperson of Tourism and Hospitality Skill Council (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, Mr Shreeram Patel in his vote of thanks emphasised TAAI’s role in the growth and development of the trade. He thanked the vision of Hon. Minister of Tourism Mr Jawahar Bhai Chavda, who along with Principal Secretary Tourism – Gujarat, Mrs Mamta Verma, Commissioner Tourism and MD of Gujarat Tourism, Mr Jenu Devan and Mr Nirav Munshi – Manager Commercial (Travel & Marketing) along with other officials gave full support to TAAI. He also thanks Indigo Airlines who were the sole airline that 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 Mrs Jyoti Mayal.