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Monday, 20 March, 2017, 14 : 20 PM [IST]

ETAA Convention 2017: Emphasises building trust & synergy

The two-day domestic convention of ETAA in Hyderabad was truly out of the box. Apart from sound networking experience, delegates who came from different parts of the country took with them rich knowledge of various upcoming destinations which will ultimately consolidate their business further, writes Prasenjit Chakraborty.
L-R: Sunil Kumar R, President, TAAI; Biji Eapen, President, IAAI; Abdul Fahim, Chapter Chairman, TAFI, Andhra Pradesh and Telengana; Jagat Mehta, President, ETAA and Carl Dantas, Chairman Emiretus, ETAA


The second domestic convention of the Enterprising Travel Agent Association (ETAA) took place at Leonia Holistic Resort on March 3 and 4 in Hyderabad. The proceedings of the convention started with networking lunch. After that, delegates embarked on a site visit of the resort in batches. This was then followed by a welcome gala dinner and cultural programmee at Geo Garden.

The convention was unique in many ways. Firstly, it brought reputed associations’ chiefs like Sunil Kumar, President, Travel Agents Association of India and Biji Eapen, National President, IATA Agents Association of India (IAAI) under one roof. Secondly, unlike other conventions, there were no panel discussions and long speeches. The idea was to bring more products in the limelight and presentations, so that the delegates learn more about destinations which ultimately facilitate their business. Abdul Fahim, Chapter Chairman, TAFI, Andhra Pradesh and Telengana, was also present on the occasion. Around 225 delegates from across the country participated in the event.

The convention started with a traditional lighting of lamp. Speaking on the occasion, Carl Dantas, Chairman Emeritus, praised the present ETAA team for organising such a wonderful event. Kumar congratulated the organisers for selecting Hyderabad as the venue for the convention. “The role of ETAA over the years has grown commendably well,” he said. Kumar also said that 70% of the travel agents across the world are not members of IATA and it is the same with India. “Taking due cognisance of the fact, it seems that IATA is working on some schemes for them. And you should be aware of this,” he exhorted. While Eapen emphasised on unity of all associations, he appealed, “We do not have unity amongst ourselves, it is time for all of us to get united and fight for our cause. If we do so, it will help the industry to a great extent. Let’s start from this platform.”

Delegates listening with rapt attention at the convention


ETAA achieved a milestone by becoming an affiliated member of the IIPT (International Institute of Peace Tourism). “It’s a major milestone in the history of ETAA and the Indian travel industry,” Dantas said. The convention also witnessed presentations from Leonia Resort, Telengana Tourism, VFS Global and Fiji Tourism. There was a good mix of exhibitors right from DMCs, hotels to transporters at the event. The Macao Government Tourism Office, ICS Travel Group, Global Destinations, TSOGO SUN (THS Representations), Leonia Resort, Telengana Tourism, etc. were some of the exhibitors at the convention.

Speaking to TravelBiz Monitor, Dantas said that ETAA has come a long way. “We organised our first domestic convention in 2011 closer to our head quarters i.e. Mumbai. And now we are hosting our second domestic convention with a pan India image in Hyderabad,” he said. During the first domestic convention the total number of members were 200, today it stands 750.

ETAA team


Throwing light on the uniqueness of the event, Dantas said that he choose to tread a different path and is always cautious not make the convention monotonous. “I do not like that our members will sit down and listen to people on how to do business. Rather we brought products and presentations which are far more beneficial for the business of our members,” he said. The event offered ample scope for networking among the members and perhaps gave a new dimension to networking. Explained Dantas, “Networking is just not mean cocktail and dinner; it is building trust, synergy and do business.”



EXHIBITORS’ VIEW



Palanisamy A, Sales & Marketing Head-India & UAE, ICS Travel Group
It’s an excellent platform to meet non-IATA members and network. At the same time, it gives us a wonderful opportunity to penetrate as their business partner. Next time, we would want an education session about our destination with ETAA.

Nema Reshamvala, Business Manager, Global Destinations
It’s a brilliant platform which provided us an amazing exposure to various agents located in different parts of the country. This convention has helped us to reach out to right people under one roof. We created further awareness about Fiji using this platform among the travel agents which will help us to get more number of tourists from India. I am really happy to participate here.

Tasneem H Sharafally, Proprietor, TSOGO SUN, THS Representations
ETAA provides an exposure to meet small agents across the country. Educating them about our products is an achievement. I am sure, many of such enquires will convert into business. The event is well organised and we will participate in the next convention/exhibition of ETAA.




BUYERS’ VIEW



Irshad I Patel, Director, Discover Destinations, Tours & Travels
My experience is very good and the event is well organised. All the upcoming destinations like Macao, Fiji, etc. participated in the convention. We came to know in-depth about such destinations. The uniqueness of the event is, people from other reputed associations have also participated and threw light on different issues of the industry.

Meghna Gautam, Director, Hither & Thither, Tours & Travels Pvt Ltd
This is right platform to select proper DMCs. Nowadays, many people claim to represent DMCs, but they are not. Dealing with them, we understand that they are merely travel agents. This creates huge confusion in terms of business as their services are not proper. We are looking for more such events in the future.

Dipti Thakur, Director, Adventure Holidays
There is a right mix of exhibitors from hotels to DMCs to transporters. As a tour operator I got a chance to interact with all types of companies. As an adventure tour operator, I came across different offerings from exhibitors both from India and abroad.




Endorsing Dantas’ view, Jagat Mehta, President, ETAA, said that the aim of this convention is to build relationship among the members and do business. “We are not discussing complicated tax issues here. We will certainly discuss such issues, but in a different platform,” he said. On educating the members, he said that they will do it on a regional level. “We will discuss topics like high taxation and GST in different zones of the country,” said Mehta. ETAA has already conducted such programmes in Kolkata and Hyderabad in the recent past. Jaipur will be the venue of their next programme. “We will conduct it in the next one month,” he said.

Carl Dantas with Jagat Mehta


In their endeavour to spread its wings, ETAA recently opened its chapter in Kolkata. “We want to increase the number of our members and keeping Kolkata as our base, we will reach Assam and other North Eastern states,” he said. Terming ETAA’s association with IIPT as feather in the cap, he said that it will further increase the visibility of ETAA. “With this development ETAA becomes an ambassador of peace.”

On choosing Hyderabad as venue for the convention, he said, “We want to conduct our convention in a place which is not a big metro and having good connectivity. We also like Leonia Resort and do not even look for any hotel in Hyderabad city.”

prasenjit.chakraborty@saffronsynergies.in
 
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