At a recently held event in Mumbai, wherein the two travel trade associations, Enterprising Travel Agents Association (ETAA) and IATA Agents Association of India (IAAI) renewed their Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the two associations unanimously decided to form a Joint Working Committee to formulate a strategy to work together. It was decided that three members from each association will be nominated as part of the Committee by the mid-next month, and later the same will be replicated at the regional level. IAAI and ETAA are the only two travel trade associations in India that have come together and signed an MoU for the welfare of travel agents.
Present on the occasion were Biji Eapen, President, IAAI; Karl Dantas, Chairman Emeritus, ETAA; D L Jekannathan, Secretary, IAAI; Jagat Mehta, Acting President, ETAA; S Saldanha, Treasurer, IAAI; and the committee members of the two associations. The event started with the lighting of the lamp, following which a two-minute silence was observed for the victims of the recent crash of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.
Addressing those present for the occasion, Eapen said, "We need to work together for the betterment of the industry and the two associations will work unitedly for the industry. We are also planning to interlink IAAI and ETAA websites, i.e.the IAAI website will display the ETAA logo and vice-versa. This will help leverage on the contacts for the members of both associations.”
IAAI will hold its annual convention in Delhi in February 2015. However, the two associations may propose to have a joint convention, though, work still needs to be done on the modalities for the same, Eapen added.
Dantas said that the creation of a Joint Working Committee was a positive start. “We think differently, but we stand by each other in the fight for the rights of travel agents. Although I am not the Board Member, I am always there to support and guide the team and render service whenever required. The Joint Working Committee will work on the technicalities on how both associations will function together in future,” he stated.
"IAAI had organised a workshop for its members in Chennai to educate them on IATA Agents handbook. The same will be held in Kochi on August 9, and I urge ETAA members to actively participate in the workshop. The renewal of the IAAI-ETAA MoU will further strengthen our relationship and give us recognition," Saldanha said.
Mehta said that the renewal of the MoU was a great occasion for IAAI and ETAA to forge a path for long-term relationship. The managing committees of the two associations will discuss the Joint Working Committee in the coming weeks, he informed.