The Outbound Tour Operators Association of India has elected its new team for 2017-19. Mahendra Vakharia is the new President while Himanshu Patil has been elected as the Vice President for the association’s next term.
The new OTOAI team was elected unopposed. The focus of the association has shifted from North India to West India with both the President and Vice President from the western region. Other important office bearers of OTOAI included Chitra Bhatia, MD, Aashman Air Travels as the new General Secretary; Gurdeep Singh Gujral, Director, Gujral Tours and Travels continuing as the Joint Secretary while Siddharth Khanna, Partner, Khanna Enterprises as the new Treasurer. The Executive Committee members include, Ankush Nijhawan, Managing Director, Nijhawan Group; Sujit Nair, Founder and Group Managing Director, Akquasun Group; Riaz Munshi, Managing Director, N. Chirag Travels; Shravan Bhalla, Chief Executive Officer, High Flyer; Adl Karim, Director, Creative Tours and Travels (India) and Rajeev Sabharwal, CEO, Gaurav Travels.
President Vakharia says, “I feel extremely honoured to be trusted with this position. Increasing our membership across India remains to be our top priority as some of our trade members have found it difficult to be a part of the association. Given the challenges in the tourism industry, it is important for us to innovate, learn and continue the hard work with honesty, ethics and passion.” The state chairmen will be announced in due course of time, informs Vakharia.
Patil further explains that the member base of the association is strong in the North and West while the southern and eastern part of the country needs work. “We have huge responsibilities on our shoulders as the past team has done very good work and it is our job to now carry it forward and fill the gaps. There are many issues in the travel trade and it is only with larger numbers can we represent our case well to the authorities. It is not me, but we. I would like to assure the trade that we as OTOAI will look into the problems in the industry and address them as best as we can.”
Bhatia, the only woman in the EC feels overwhelmed with the responsibility on her shoulders which she hopes to fulfil to the best to her abilities. “We need to expand our base. Now with the President and Vice President from the western region our focus will shift to the western part of the country and I hope we will be able to offer new added benefits to our members at large.”
Gujral was re-elected as the Joint Secretary unopposed. He says, “We will strengthen the association not just with an expanded membership but also by way of offering more activities, educational trips to the members, front-line staff and key trade partners. We are preparing a four-year calendar and hope to stick to the schedule so that we do not miss any opportunity to connect with our members.”
“I feel extremely honoured to be trusted with this position. Increasing our membership across India remains to be our top priority as some of our trade members have found it difficult to be a part of the association” — Mahendra Vakharia President, OTOAI
“It is not me, but we. I would like to assure the trade that we as OTOAI will look into the problems in the industry and address them as best as we can” — Himanshu Patil Vice President, OTOA