2016 brought with it a certain momentum especially for those associated with the travel trade primarily as travel agents
2016 brought with it a certain momentum especially for those associated with the travel trade primarily as travel agents. The recent discussion organised by Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), on the current IATA Settlement System (ISS) model to be replaced with NewGen ISS, which is said to have far reaching consequences, transforming business modules for travel agents and airlines, was received by the agents with a bit of caution. They are gearing up for the future and hoping that it all shapes up well in their interest. There is some amount of skepticism but they are open to comprehending what is on offer for the future. Along with NewGen ISS, New Distribution Capability (NDC) is also said to transform the way air products are retailed currently by travel agents to corporations, leisure and business travellers. NDC will address the industry’s current distribution limitations: product differentiation and time-to-market. NDC will also give access to full air content and transparent shopping platform.
Moving further, to gain a global perspective, TAAI through its participation with United Federation of Travel Agents’ Association (UFTAA), has proposed regional co-operation with neighbouring countries. The meeting discussed the practices prevalent in other countries. Subjects included areas such as commissions, settlement norms and other related matters. A government liaison committee is being created by TAAI for more detailed interaction with our government to attempt reforms for the industry.
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Apart from talks on what the future holds, there is a group of tour operators who are also aiming to put forth their concerns. With respect to the ongoing price competition between tour operators and online travel portals, tour operators from across India have suggested an ‘Ethical Tourism Policy’.
Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI) has announced that its annual convention will be held in Bali from March 17-21, 2016. It is the second country in the ASEAN region to host the delegates from OTOAI. Further, check out our cover story this issue; it is all about what the consul generals have to say on why India is so special for them as a tourism destination. Finally, we all hope that the Union Budget this year will be a winning stroke for the tourism and hospitality sector.