Record Note of Discussions of IATO Active Members Meeting held on 13th March 2019 at JW Marriott, Aerocity, New Delhi
25th March 2019
To, All Members,
Sub: Record Note of Discussions of IATO Active Members Meeting held on 13th March 2019 at JW Marriott, Aerocity, New Delhi
Placed below please find record note of discussions of IATO Active Members Meeting held on 13th March 2019 at JW Mariott Aerocity, New Delhi
With best regards,
RECORD NOTE OF DISCUSSIONS OF ACTIVE MEMBERS MEET ON 13TH MARCH 2019 AT JW MARRIOTT, AEROCITY NEW DELHI
Active members meeting was held on Wednesday, the 13th March 2019 at JW Marriott which was attended by 49 active members.
Meeting was convened by Mr. Rajesh Mudgill, Hony. Secretary with two minutes’ silence to pay homage to the departed soul of CRPF personnel who laid down their lives in Pulwama on 14th February 2019 and also to Mr. B.S. Sahay, UP Hotels, who passed away on 6th March 2019.
Thereafter, Mr. Mudgill made some important in-house announcements and updated the members on the following issues:-
- Tour Operators Manual has been sent to all members and he requested the members to go through their membership directory and check their credentials. If there is any discrepancy or any change in membership data, same may be brought to the notice of IATO so that we may update the records including on the website. This will also help us to ensure that all communication being sent through email/post are being received and they do not miss out important circulars.
- Road Shows in Australia and New Zealand are being held from 15th to 18th April 2019 and response from the members is very good.
- Barring a few all Sub-committees are active and recently Technology and Innovations committee had meeting and discussed about marketing and promotion of IATO website, lead generation etc. Soon we will be finalizing our plan for this.
He then requested Mr. Pronab Sarkar, President to address the members.
Mr. Pronab Sarkar, President welcomed the members and update them on the recent developments as under:-
- A consolidated note on the pending issues has been sent to ADG(T) and called on her and discussed the pending issues like Revision in rates for handling MOT guests by our members; Revision in MoT Guidelines for Inbound tour operators and giving relaxation in trained staff from IITTM and also the requirement of office space for the small tour operators; Revision in MDA Guidelines and removal of clause of requirement of 5% increase in foreign exchange earnings in 3 cumulative years.
- He also mentioned about the National Tourism Advisory Council meeting which was held on 21st -22nd February, 2019 in Tent City Narmada and all these issues including GST were taken up with the Ministry.
- He also apprised the house about the proposal of IATO is planning to make a one joint representation to Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Tourism titled Challenges and Opportunities in Indian Tourism Industry through Ernst & Young.
Thereafter house was opened for discussion and interaction. Following issues were discussed:-
- Mr. Raj Bajaj mentioned that there is no information about the SEIS and wanted to know if there is any update on this. Mr. Sarkar mentioned that this is under consideration However, this will be announced only after the Lok Sabha elections. IATO has recommended increase of SEIS benefits to tour operators from 7% to 12%. However, we expect, it may be increased to 10%.
- Mr. Sanath Suri raised about the problem of having a trained staff for recognition of tour operators, whereas quality of staff from tourism institutes is not of required level. IATO should not make it mandatory to have trained staff. To this, it was clarified by Mr. Mehra that for IATO membership, having a trained staff is not mandatory. However, to this Mr. Rajesh Mudgill mentioned that there is some confusion and mentioned that for Active Membership of IATO, as per the existing requirement, a company has to be recognized by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and for that requirement of qualified staff is mandatory. Therefore, for active membership it stands automatically mandatory. However, he mentioned that a committee for amendments in IATO Memorandum of Association has been constituted and this point will be looked into.
- With regard to quality of staff trained from tourism institutes, Mr. Sarkar mentioned that quality of staff trained by IITTM Gwalior, Noida and Varanasi is good and we must support them and hire their staff. Other institutes should follow the syllabus of IITTM Gwalior. Mr. Rajeev Kohli mentioned that IATO should have interaction with the institute and give inputs for change in syllabus based on industry requirements.
- Mr. Sarkar mentioned that IATO president is on the board of IITTM and has been attending the meetings personally and also some meetings have been attended by Mr. Ravi Gosain and Mr. Zia Siddiqui. Mrs. Kumar mentioned that he would also like to attend the meetings called by IITTM. Mr. Sarkar mentioned that he recently attended the seminar conducted by Puducherry University and they are willing to affiliate themselves with IATO.
- Beside this IATO has been conducting lot of training programme for the staff on various topics.
- Mr. Rajnish Kaistha mentioned that besides the theoretical knowledge, practical knowledge is of utmost important and on job training is must for the students, which increase their knowledge. Members should engage such students for 6 months on job training which everyone supported.
- On this subject Mr. Amaresh Tiwari mentioned that during our convention in Bhubaneswar -2017 an MoU between IATO and IITTM was signed and IATO was to give its inputs for the change in curriculum, which are more appropriate in today’s scenario and wanted to know if anything has been done on this. Mr. Sarkar mentioned that so far there has been no action however, we shall take it forward.
- Mr. Manoj Matta expressed his concern about the Request for Proposal (RFP) submitted by the Press and PR Committee and EC taking a decision without consulting the Press and PR Committee. Mr. Sarab Jit Singh mentioned that once the committees have been formed they should be allowed to work and their decision should be accepted. Mr. Sarkar mentioned that he should have called the President or any of the office bearers to discuss this. Mr. Mehra also mentioned that in RFP, the cost was very high and beyond IATO’s budget i.e. Rs. 5 lakhs a month. However, finally it was decided that we will reopen this case and discuss with the committee members.
- Mr. Rohit Kohli mentioned that IATO EC cannot do all the work and President job is very tough. The work has to be shared by the sub-committee to ease their work. He also mentioned that we need to make business plan for the full year or part in advance. Mr. Sarkar mentioned that that in our previous Active Members meeting, it was discussed to have a professional CEO and accordingly, we have appointed Mr. Rahul Chakravarty as COO, who will join from 1st April 2019 who will talk only business. Members appreciated this decision of the EC. Mr. Rohit Kohli suggested Mr. Chakravarty will work with all these committees and ensure their smooth functioning.
- While discussing this, Mr. Mehra mentioned that he had sought inputs from the Roadshows and Overseas Promotion Committee on our proposal that was submitted with the ministry. Not even a single response was received from any of the committee member. Members were of the view that sub-committees which are not working either be dissolved or they may be reconstituted immediately.
- Mr. Viney Tyagi mentioned about the E-Visa form which is very lengthy and unnecessary information is being sought for. He requested if IATO can do something on it. Mr. Sarkar mentioned that this has already been taken up with MHA along with other recommendations and all our recommendations have been accepted formally. Hope, some revision in this form will be done based on our recommendations. Mr. Rajeev Kohli mentioned that though there are some columns in Indian Visa form but countries like USA are asking far more information in their Visa Form and compared to that our Indian visa form is much better. Country security and safety is also important.
- Mr. Rohit Kohli was of the view that IATO should give an advertisement in national daily newspaper with our demands and whichever party support our mandate that party should be given IATO’s support, however some of the members we should not mention this.
- Mr. Vishal Yadav expressed the problems being faced from the OTAs and industry not being able to compete. To which the general consensus was that it cannot be helped. However, we will write to the ministry expressing our concern.
- Mr. Mudgill mentioned that we would form a committee for the Business Plan and requested Mr. Rohit Kohli to chair the committee which he gladly accepted.
- Thereafter, Mr. Zia Siddiqui gave an update the IATO training program that were organized by IATO. He mentioned that over 1700 staff of our members were given training on various subjects like digital marketing, GST etc. He also mentioned about the Executive MBA in Tourism programme introduced by Zamia Milia University which has been accorded approval by UGC with recommendation from IATO. IATO members/staff will be given priority and some discount in fees. He also mentioned about the workshop which will be organized jointly by IATO and Regional Director North where we will invite the members who are due for MoT recognition or applying for fresh recognition. Their form will be filled up online, documents will be verified on the spot and their inspection will be conducted. This was well appreciated by the members.
Vote of thanks was raised by Mr. Rajiv Mehra who thanked the members for attending in large numbers. He also thanked the Management of JW Marriott for hosting the meeting and the Hi -Tea.
Meeting ended with vote of thanks to the chair.