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Saturday, 28 October, 2017, 10 : 00 AM [IST]

11th TAFI convention opens with a focus on sustainable success

The 11th TAFI (Travel Agents Federation of India) international convention opened in Turkey with a focus on sustainable success as the way forward towards creating a vision for exponential business growth for the agent community as well as the destinations they promote. TAFI President Praveen Chugh echoed this approach in his keynote address, noting how TAFI international conventions had historically made a direct impact Indian outbound numbers to the host destination, and that the same will likely hold true for Turkey. The 11th TAFI international convention was inaugurated at the Hilton Dalaman Resort and Spa. 

Chugh was joined on stage by stellar panel dignitaries including Esengul Civelek, Governor of Mugla where the convention venues, Dalaman and Antalya are located; Emin Cakmak, Head of the Turkish Indian Tourism Council; Yucel Okutur, Director, DOKTOB, Dalaman-Ortaca-Koycegiz Tourism and Hotelier Association, India’s Ambassador to Turkey, Rahul Kulshresth, Indian Consul General in Turkey, Azar Ali Khan, Faz Lee Corman, Director General from Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and TAFI Convention Chairman, Bharat Shah.

Chugh quoted Mahatma Gandhi, saying, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” He noted that India’s outbound segment had witnessed massive growth. “We had 20 million Indians travelling abroad in 2016 and by 2022, that figure is expected to touch 50 million. And TAFI’s international conventions have also played an important role in this regard. We held our first convention in 1999 in Malaysia. Back then, Malaysia received a mere 40,000 Indian tourists. Now they receive over 600,000. Looking back, other host countries like Singapore, Dubai, Macao, Thailand, South Africa and Israel have also hugely benefited with regard to Indian outbound after hosting a TAFI convention. We expect Turkey to also experience a boost,” Chugh said.  
Kulshresth observed the cultural, historic and architectural similarities between Turkey and India, and how both countries had supported each other during crucial times. “It is a shared belief that as we work closely together, people to people contact and cultural exchange will be key to sustain this relationship and that is why bilateral tourism is extremely relevant and there is room for collaboration beyond that as well,” he said. 
Cakmak reflected on the 11 years that the council has been around and how bilateral tourism relations between the two countries have thrived during this period. “Back then there were only three weekly flights to and from India, and now we have daily flights now and maybe more in the future. We have gone from 4,000 Indian tourists in 2006 to 150,000 in 2017 and our target now is to reach 1 million by 2023, and hosting the TAFI convention is an important step in that direction,” he envisioned. 

Finally, Civelek expressed her privilege to be able to host the TAFI convention and hoped the participants would be amazed by the uniqueness of Mugla’s cultural and natural splendor. Civelek said she looked forward to welcoming several Indian tourists in the near future, following the convention. There was also a scintillating Bharat Natyam performance, interestingly by Turkish dancers, further celebrating the cultural exchange. This was followed by a networking dinner on the lawns hosted by the Hilton. 

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