Category Archives: Agents

‘TAFI’s online marketplace’ now live

The Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) has launched its online marketplace for members—TAFI Connect. Ashwani Sharma, Chapter Chairman, TAFI-North, said “TAFI Connect would be the online tool for members to conduct their business online with a huge inventory of hotels and packages. It would also allow them to do business with each other,” he added. Pranita Baveja, Founder & CEO, Traviate.com, showcased the features of TAFI Connect and even gave them a demo of the product. Members can now enroll themselves and be live on TAFI Connect to use its services and grow their businesses.  

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EBIXCASH World Money wins 3 awards

EBIXCASH World Money has recently won three awards in different categories. It won the Pinnacle Award as the ‘Best Outperforming Partner – Terminal Services’ by Kempegowda International Airport Bengaluru in recognition of the outstanding services rendered for the FY 2018-19. It was also awarded an award under ‘Order of Merit’ for ‘Students University Remittance Solution’ by Skoch Group at the Skoch Awards 2019 in the Fintech category. EBIXCASH World Money also received the VISA Award for being one of the largest issuer of Visa travel cards in India with card loads of US$500 Million in 2018.  

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Ebix acquires Yatra Online via merger

Ebix will be acquiring Yatra Online via merger, as part of a definitive agreement signed between the two travel giants. Following the completion of the transaction, Yatra will become part of Ebix’s EbixCash travel portfolio alongside Via and Mercury and will continue to serve customers under the Yatra brand. The transaction will create India’s largest and most profitable travel services company, and a leading online travel platform poised to capture significant international growth opportunities. Ebix Chairman, President and CEO Robin Raina, commented, “The acquisition of Yatra would lend itself to significant synergies and the emergence of EbixCash as India’s largest and most profitable travel services company, besides being the largest enterprise financial exchange in the country. Over the last few months, we have evolved a detailed synergistic plan, that once fully executed can provide between 40 to 75 cents of accretion to the Ebix non-GAAP EPS. We are excited by the cross-selling opportunities that this combination provides us, while further strengthening our future EbixCash IPO offering.” Dhruv Shringi, Co-founder and CEO of Yatra Online. “We are pleased to announce this agreement with Ebix, which provides our shareholders with the opportunity to participate in the significant upside potential of one of the fastest growing multinational On-Demand software and E-commerce services companies in the world. Over the last several years, we have built Yatra into one of India’s most well- recognized e-commerce brands, growing into the leading corporate travel services provider and one of the largest consumer travel companies. Becoming a part of Ebix’s EbixCash travel portfolio will enable us to continue on that path. As part of a larger diversified organization with the necessary scale and resources to be a leader …

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Thomas Cook clarifies social media rumour

Madhavan Menon, Chairman & Managing Director, Thomas Cook (India), has categorically denied a rumour floating against it on social media platforms. He said, “We have witnessed robust performances across all our key travel and foreign exchange businesses and continue to remain at a healthy financial position having prepaid our obligations and are debt free at a holding company level. We are bullish on both the foreign exchange as well as the inbound and outbound businesses. We are scouting for new investments and are looking for the right opportunity.” In a statement, the company claimed that they want to clarify that Thomas Cook (India is part of Fairfax Financial Holdings, is a completely different entity from Thomas Cook PLC and has been an independent company since August 2012. It also claimed that Thomas Cook (India) is financially strong, profitable and maintains a positive outlook in the travel and tourism sector and continues to witness strong growth. The statement said, “Cash and bank deposits balance of the Thomas Cook India Group (consolidated level) is at Rs. 10588 Mn. as of March 31, 2019. On a standalone basis Thomas Cook India is debt free upon pre-payment of Rs. 670 Mn debenture obligations ahead of schedule. This has been made possible using stable and strong cash flows that the Thomas Cook India Group is generating year over year. Group generates an annual free cash flow of around Rs. 2000-2500 Mn. As earlier reported, for the Financial Year ended March 31, 2019 on a comparable basis, the Group’s consolidated revenue from operations increased by 18% from Rs.56 Bn. to Rs.66 Bn. Consolidated PBT increased by 985% from Rs. 53 Mn. in FY18 to Rs. 573 …

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Russia & India to mutually abolish visas for tourist groups & e-Visas to Russia from 2021

Russia has offered India to mutually abolish visas for tourist groups & E-visas to Russia slated to start in 2021. Tourism professionals of the two countries discussed the expansion of air connectivity between Russia and India, the mutual promotion of tourism between the two countries, as well as the facilitation of the visa regime between the countries, including preparations for the introduction of an electronic visa in Russia since 2021 and the possibility of introducing group visa-free travel between the countries.This proposal was made by the head of the Federal tourism Agency Zarina Doguzova during the Second Russian-Indian strategic economic dialogue in Delhi. The Indian side expressed interest in the joint development of a draft government agreement on visa-free group travel for up to 21 days. According to the press service of the Federal Tourism Agency, the Second Russian-Indian strategic economic dialogue is taking place in India, within the framework of which a round table “Tourism and inter-territorial communication” was held on July 10, 2019. The moderator of this event, dedicated to the development of tourism between Russia and India, was the head of the Federal Agency for tourism Zarina Doguzova. The round table was also attended by Maya Lomidze, Executive Director of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR). As a result of the round table, it was decided to establish a joint working group between representatives of the tourism authorities of the two countries, representatives of business and the expert community to develop a joint action plan to increase tourism exchanges. According to forecasts, in the future, mutual tourist flows may exceed 1 million people annually. Mutual steps to increase tourism exchanges between the countries Zarina Doguzova …

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Agents discuss Visit Vizag 2020 campaign with AP Tourism Minister

In an exclusive interview to Tourism Breaking News, Vijay Mohan, President of Tour and Travels Association of Andhra Pradesh, said, “We met the tourism minister and discussed about increasing tourism in the region. Among other things, we discussed in detail about starting a Visit Vizag 2020 campaign. We also want to tap a renowned cricketer like Mahendra Singh Dhoni as the brand ambassador. The reason for choosing Dhoni is that in all his media interactions about Vizag, Dhoni has been quoted as saying, ‘This is where I first fell in love.’ It’s a great tag line for us. We also want to develop circuits for religious tourism for which we need to develop the shakti peeths, we also have a wonderful Buddhist circuit.”  

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Navin Kumar Choudhary is the new Principal Secretary- Tourism, Government of J&K

As per a recent order of the General Administration Department of Government of Jammu & Kashmir, Navin Kumar Choudhary (IAS), Principal Secretary, Industries and Commerce department, will now also hold the charge of Administrative Secretary – Tourism department. A joint statement by Travel Agents Society of Kashmir (TASK), Travel Agents Association of Kashmir (TAAK), Association of Kashmir Tour Operators (AKTO), Pilgrim and Leisure Tour Operators Forum (PILTOF) and Kashmir Hotel and Restaurant Owners Federation (KHAROF) said that the appointment of Choudhary is a right decision to help improve the tourism sector in the state. Earlier this year, Choudhary had also been give the charge of Administrative Secretary, Information Technology department, in addition to his own duties until a regular arrangement was made.

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Disappointing for tourism, but good for infrastructure: FAITH

Sharing his views on the Union Budget, Subhash Goyal, Secretary General, FAITH, said, “As far as the Budget is concerned, there are very few things for tourism in it. One thing for the industry is inland waterways, which can also be used for tourism and second is development of iconic sites. Thirdly, the Government has again focused on aviation as well as on tax reduction for SMEs. However, overall there is no indication of any relief. The GST council might do something later, but nothing has been done for taxation on tourism to be five per cent and exemption on foreign exchange earnings. Overall, we are a little disappointed with the Budget. We still have to read the fine print, although from what we have seen, there are certain things regarding water and infrastructure, which are good. If they give infrastructure status to hotels and tour operators, it will be very good. What I don’t understand is to create employment, and the industry which gives the largest employment has not been given anything.”

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35th IATO Convention to be held in Kolkata from 12-15 September

The next convention of the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) is likely to be held in Kolkata from September 12-15, informed Rajesh Mudgill, Hony. Secretary, IATO. He said that further details will be announced in due course of time. “The 35th convention will likely be organised in Kolkata. We had some deliberations regarding the dates but things are almost finalised now. We are looking make this convention much bigger and better,” adds Mudgill. He also said the upcoming monthly luncheon meeting of the association, scheduled on July 10 at The Oberoi, Delhi will be followed by the Executive committee meeting, where the association is expected to discuss more about the preparations for the convention. Apart from working on the new IATO website, Mudgill also informed that the association is also looking to come up with a mobile app to facilitate convenience and more information to its members.

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SK Valmiki Hari Kishan bags the Asian Personality of the year award at Skål Asia Congress

Hyderabad’s Tourism professional SK Hari Kishan Valmikki was honoured with the Personality of the year award for 219 at the recently concluded 48th Skål Asia Area Congress in Bengaluru. Valmiki is a well-known travel professional in Indian as well as asian region of the Skål and has been chosen among 3600 members spread across in the Asian continent. He has twenty years of experience in tourism industry in India. Founder & the MD of Hyderabad-based, Valmiki Travel & Tourism Solutions, he is known for his contribution in creating a positive impact on the tourism industry through various initiatives. He was also part of the bidding committee and was instrumental in bringing 78th Skål World Congress to Hyderabad in 2017 under the leadership of the then President. After Andhra Pradesh’s bifurcation, he collaborated with FTAPCCI as a Chairman for Tourism & MiCE Committee to organise the 1st Telangana Tourism Conclave with the primary aim to promote interaction between the tourism industry and stakeholders. He has also submitted white draft to help Government of Telangana’s tourism Policy. On winning the award, an elated Valmiki said, “ The ‘Athithidevo Bhava’ social awareness campaign introduced by the Ministry of Tourism with the objective of sensitising the stakeholders and the general public about various social awareness themes must be propagated more deeply and intensely. This award will increase the responsibility as in individual to do more and better towards the development of the tourism sector and also become a responsible citizen to do something for the society.

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