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Wednesday, 08 April, 2015, 16 : 00 PM [IST]

TAAI Convention 2015 puts up a grand show at Bali

The 2015 edition of TAAI Convention, held in Bali, Indonesia from March 26-28, was a successful event. The Convention, with its gusto and fervour, enthralled the delegates like never before. The exciting destination of Bali, along with a variety of presentations at the Convention, won the hearts of the attendees, and showcased the best image-building exercise of TAAI. TravelBiz Monitor presents highlights of the Convention
TAAI ConferenceThe 62nd annual Indian Travel Congress of Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), held at the Bali International Convention Centre (BICC), was inaugurated by Amarjeet Singh Takhi, Consul General of India for Bali, together with Sunil Kumar R, Acting President, TAAI, at a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The Convention was attended by 350 members of the Association from across India. The members got the opportunity to meet around 50 local sellers during the India Travel Trade Expo (ITTE) at the three-day event. The sellers comprised travel agencies, hotels, spas, and restaurants from Bali.

Kumar said, “We are pleased to have our Congress here at this beautiful island of Bali. We have been waiting for this occasion for quite a while and pledge to provide a new atmosphere for our members after our past five conventions that were held in Bengaluru, India; Phuket, Thailand; Istanbul, Turkey; Dubai, UAE; and London, UK. We are here to support the wonderful initiative of the Indian government, ‘Festival of India in Indonesia’.”

“We aim at multiplying outbound arrivals from India to Bali in particular, and Indonesia in general, through the Convention. Even though Indian tourists do not rank among the top ten arrivals to Indonesia, we are confident, looking at the result from each of our previous Conventions,” Kumar stated.

The Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Indonesia, together with stakeholders of the Bali Tourism Board or GIPI (Gabungan Industri Pariwisata Indonesia), enthusiastically supported the Convention, knowing that India is a huge market and can be one of the primary targets for Indonesian tourism in the years to come. It is hoped that this trade expo can be the bridge between companies from both countries to do business. Also, supporting the efforts is travel insurance company, TrawellTag Cove-More, which has been the official partner of TAAI for seven years.

TAAI ConferenceRajesh Duta, Vice President, TrawellTag Cover-More, said, “We are eager to support the Association, especially this year as they have organised their Convention in this very special island of Bali. Bali is one of the best tourist destinations in the world. Besides, Bali and India have a very close relationship in terms of culture.”

Every aspect of the Convention was well designed and drawn from the best of resources. Be it the prized destination Bali or the reception at the airport, or the top-quality convention hotels, the well-built convention centre, the way the venues were decked with absolute splendour and luxury, or the three magnificent evening events – Inaugural; Namaste India Dinner; and Gala Dinner – or be it the business sessions with an array of international speakers and excellent content, the ITTE, the variety of cuisine that was offered, the entertainment and fun that animated every evening, or the complimentary pre- and post-tour stay in Bali in the best hotels, the preand post-convention tours, or the way the local attractions that welcomed the delegates with shows like the Devdan Show, or the Bali Agung Show with Bali Safari.

“I have been closely associated with over ten TAAI Conventions, either as Chairman or Co- Chairman or an office-bearer or a Member of the Managing Committee. But Bali Convention was certainly very special and rich in content. Every event of the Convention was superbly crafted. The Convention offered absolute quality of a very rare order with plenty of activity, amazing ambience, incredible partnerships, and importantly pleasant memories for our delegates to take home. Neither TAAI nor the travel and tourism industry in Bali will ever forget to recall the grandeur and opulence of this Convention. I am delighted that our Convention-organising TAAI team scored big and proved their commitment as we delivered this superb event,” grinned Kumar.

Business Sessions
The business sessions were rich in content with presentations, comfortable seating, well spread out arrangement, audio-visual facility, and a variety of speakers from seven nationalities. Several speakers gave visual presentations and shared their rich experience and articulated the sessions very well. The speakers were Ashwini Kakkar, Past President – TAAI & Executive Vice Chairman, Mercury Travels; Brad Edman, Ex Director of Sales & Marketing, SE Asia & GM – Courtyard Seminyak; Karan Anand, Head Relationship, Cox & Kings; Simon Ward, Founder & Managing Director, Bali Food Safari; Dhananjai Saliankar, Regional Director, South Asia, Starwood Hotels & Resorts; Vishal Dhupar, Managing Director, NVIDIA, South Asia; Niranjan Gupta, Founder & CEO, Trip 38; Marius Dogeanu, Manager – NDC, IATA – Asia Pacific & Singapore; Sandeep Dwivedi, Chief Commercial Officer, ITQ – Galileo; Rajiv Jakkula, Vice President, Bird Group – Amadeus; George Saunders, Asia CEO, Cover More Group; Naresh Rawal, Vice President Sales, Star Cruises; Carl Vaz, Chairman, Charson Advisory, India and Director-India, DTCM; Giamming Toh, Chief Commercial Officer, Vistara Airlines; Bipan Kapur, Managing Director, The Westin Hotel & Resort, Nusa Dua & BICC; Nischal Bhasin, General Manager, Sales – Jet Airways; Joe Oliver Borg, President, UFTAA; Dr Yogesh C Gondal, Editor & Publisher, The World of Travel & Tourism; Sheldon Santwan, Editor & COO, TravelBiz Monitor; Jack Daniels, President, Bali Discovery & BALI MICE Guide; Arun Raghu, Director, Fans on Stands; and Ming, Director, World Sports Group. TAAI presented ‘The KNIGHT of Knowledge’ plaques to the speakers.

The three-day ITTE exhibition featuring over 50 stalls, was laid out at the foyer of BICC, offering delegates opportunities to strengthen their network with new and existing partnerships. ITTE was inaugurated on March 26 by Takhi. It brought the delegates closer to various opportunities for supporting outbound from India to Indonesia. The exhibitors included tour operators, hotels, and attractions. The Indian offerings were also well showcased. Incredible India had an exhibition, and Telangana Tourism had massive display at ITTE. Twelve delegates were honoured with cash prizes of USD 100 each by TAAI, for their excellent participation at ITTE.

Namaste India
A new initiative from TAAI, Namaste India was a presentation to showcase India as a tourist destination. With a firm belief that Indonesia’s large population must divert their attention to visit India, TAAI presented ‘Incredible India’ through an audio-visual presentation. On the second day, Grand Nikko turned out to be a rich Indian evening with a spread of over 70 food options to choose from, which powerfully reflected the Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, Punjabi, and South Indian taste. The décor, rich culture, the wonderful TAAI logo, and the colours through the rangoli added spice to the evening. His Excellency Shri Gurjit Singh addressed the Namaste India dinner and spoke about India and TAAI. Esthy Reko Astuti, Director General of Tourism from Indonesia, also shared her impressions and was awed by the Indian presentation
Trade Speak

Ketut Ardana
SHT, Chairman, Association of the Indonesian Tour & Travel Agencies (ASITA)
TAAI Convention was an exciting event for Bali Tourism. We need more events like this from other regions to open markets and provide easier access for local businesses to do promotion. It is much more effective and at the same time cost-friendly compared to travelling abroad for a sales mission. With the Indian market in particular, we need to be aggressive, considering India is one of the biggest potential markets in the industry. I hope this event can facilitate players from both countries to open more business in the near future.

Shabbir Dalal
Director, Shums Air Travels
I am glad to have attended the TAAI Convention. This is a good opportunity for both countries to have a closer relationship in terms of tourism. Indonesia is the biggest Muslim country in the world, which makes it very unique for travellers from India and Middle East. In a way it needs more promotion from stakeholders of both countries to be able to reach the maximum potential, particularly on flight services and prices.

Pong Choi Choi
Director of Sales, Courtyard by Marriot Nusa Dua
I am excited to be here, being able to meet tour operators from India. ITTE provides such a strong platform to increase tourist visits from the Indian market. I hope there will be more events like this in the future. The feedback has been wonderful. We are glad to be a part of the event and the organising committee has been very supportive.

Bipan Kapur
MD, The Westin Resort Nusa Dua, Bali and Bali International Convention Centre
TAAI Convention was an excellent opportunity to interact and network. The informative business sessions and discussions provided an insight into the industry and its challenges. Bali has huge potential for the Indian market. We are already seeing a double-digit growth every year. The Convention highlighted infocus the heritage and cultural links between the two countries, thereby encouraging Indonesian Tourism to pursue a more active role in promoting the country to Indian nationals and to take part in most of the tourism and trade shows in India.

Sara Sanders
General Manager, Puri Mas Boutique Resorts & Spa
Overall, the Convention was an excellent opportunity to meet agents and representatives from India. However, we thought that there would be a more definite B2B session, rather than an exhibition of resorts. We were expecting relevant businesses seeking us out and exchanging contacts. I believe it would have been very beneficial for those attending as sellers to have an appointment session. We hope that each government will see the benefit of promoting India and Indonesia as tourist destinations, and make direct flights between Bali and India, a reality. Bali and Lombok (which we are representing), are perfect destinations for the Indian market. We also hope that there are increased flights between Bali and Lombok to assist visitors to get a taste of Indonesia and not just the island of Bali. We are revamping our menu and spa to be suitable for the Indian market.

Komang Budiani
Sales Marketing & E-commerce Manager, Dash Hotel Seminyak Bali
TAAI Convention is the most important event, since TAAI is India’s largest association, and offered us the opportunity to interact, connect, and network with the trade members and travel agent counterparts. ITTE offered us an opportunity to grab a share of the Indian market, as we are a new brand hotel in Bali and needs to be promoted as well. But the feedback from Indian delegates was closely unexpected, since delegates spared a lot of their time to join the congress and entertainment that there was no enough time to visit sellers and get clear information. India is one of the key players in Outbound Tourism, and Indonesia, especially Bali, and India are two great cultures that have plenty in common. Both these highly populated countries have enormous tourism potential. We are targeting FIT and GIT Indian leisure guests and need to attend Indian events and connect with their retail agents based in Bali, to make it easier to communicate and process the payment.

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