The new TAFI team with Ajay Prakash at the helm wants to pick up from where it had left. On the agenda is creating a level playing field for airlines, starting new chapters that are not well represented, ironing out visa issues with consulates, and launching a B2C campaign to educate people about the importance of travel professionals.
Ajay Prakash has been re-elected as the TAFI President for the new term of two years in an online election held in Mumbai on 2 September 2023. While Anil Kalsi takes over from Kamal Jadhwani as Vice President, Abbas Moiz and Hitank Shah maintain their old position as Secretary and Treasurer, respectively. Committee members include: Seeraj Sabharwal, Sampat Damani, Rai Achal Krishna, Jitul Mehta and Anandaveloo M. The new team have also co-opted four members for an extended team, as per the TAFI bylaws at the first Managing Committee meeting held on the same day. They are: S. Somaskandan, Sunil Uttam, Anil Punjabi and Paulose Mathew. Pradip Lulla will continue as the Immediate Past President.
Prakash commented, “We took the initiative to conduct e-voting many years ago because this gives a larger membership base to exercise their right to vote. It is important to have a full representation of members and who they choose to lead their association.”
The e-voting opened on the election day and results were announced on the same day. “Many of the people in the team have been on the national team already for the past two years. Some of our members have gracefully stepped aside to make room for new members to come in on the national managing committee. Every association needs new faces, needs new ideas, needs younger people for it to grow and sustain itself. It is extremely important that younger members come in and take the initiative. So, we have always encouraged and nurtured new leadership at TAFI,” Prakash said.
Relationship with Ministries key
Prakash feels TAFI currently has an excellent new team which has representation from across the country, which is very important. “One must have regional representation because there are issues which only the members in that region are fully conversive with. And these issues sometimes need to be escalated in order to be addressed. TAFI has also re-initiated dialogue with the Ministry of Tourism. Unfortunately, TAFI was not at the forefront where the Ministry was concerned. But with the G20 meetings held in India that we were part of, we made a lot of headway with them. Going forward, TAFI will be communicating and be involved with the programmes of the MoT,” he said.
TAFI has also successfully lobbied with the Ministry of Finance to delay the implementation of TCS. Prakash says, “However, it is only a delay right now. We have again approached the government to reconsider the parameters they are proposing to make it more conducive for business to grow. We also have had a series of meetings with VFS Global regarding the visa challenges that our members have been facing. We are also hoping to have a meeting with some of the Consuls to resolve these issues. Also, by virtue of the membership TAFI has with the WTAAA, it also has a seat on the Passenger Agency Programme Global Joint Council where agents and airlines have the opportunity to sit face to face and discuss issues.”
The term that was:
- Opened a new chapter in Jammu & Kashmir
- Added 132 new members to TAFI
- Expanded TAFI’s joint bank guarantee to cover more members
- Rebuilt connections with Ministry of Tourism
- Successfully lobbied with the Ministry of Finance
- Signed MoU with HATTA (Hellenic Association of Travel and Tourist
Agencies) as well as the FEDHATTA, the Federation of Hellenic Associations of Travel & Tourist Agencies
- Signed MoU with Kazakhstan Tourism Board to promote bilateral tourism
- Successful convention in Sarawak, Malaysia
- Liaising with VFS to iron out visa issues
- Revamped TAFI website
- Took TAFI membership application completely online