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Tuesday, 26 December, 2017, 09 : 46 AM [IST]

OTOAI to demand recognition and representation in Tourism Ministry’s consultative bodies

New EC to work to enhance membership pan-India
Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI), an association of tour operators selling outbound travel from India, will approach Ministry of Tourism (MoT), Government of India for recognition and representation in various government- industry consultative bodies of the department.  The newly elected Executive Committee (EC) of the Association in its first meeting in Delhi last week has decided to build synergies with Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, as well as enhance its membership base so as to make it stronger as a trade association in the country.

“If you think tourism is all about inbound, that is not right. Inbound and outbound travel are complementary.  It’s a wrong perception that outbound is all about lose of foreign exchange and inbound is a gain,” said Mahendra Vakharia, President, OTOAI, while speaking to TravelBiz Monitor. Foreign Tourism Boards are also investing in India market in marketing and promotions which creates direct and indirect employment. They also do roadshows and other activities to promote their destinations, he said.

Among the priorities, the association will also attempt to “drive membership” so that it gets more traction as a strong stakeholder of the tourism industry, Vakharia said. Currently, OTOAI has a membership base of 450 plus. While the association has strong membership base in North and West,  the new EC will try to strengthen its base in the South and East, he added.

He said that the industry is becoming more and more “knowledge based” and there is need for the membership to be updated and upgraded in terms of their knowledge base on a regular basis. Vakharia said that the leadership will try to engage the tourism boards to invest in education. “The reason for tourism boards eyeing Indian outbound is because Indians are high spenders at destinations. Therefore, the onus is on tourism boards to invest in trade education,” he said.
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