We have worked long and hard to ensure that our agents get back our rightful refunds: Pradip Lulla
At India Tourism Vision Day, Pradip Lulla, President Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) addressed the concerns of the travel agents in the country, shared the challenges and opportunities ahead.
Times are changing, business models are changing and they are changing fast. With technology earlier and now because of the pandemic, the travel agent’s fraternity are under immense pressure. More so in such volatile business scenarios their payments have also come under pressure.
Speaking at the India Tourism Vision Day organised by Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality (FAITH), Pradip Lulla, President, Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) expressed the concerns and the challenges travel agents across the country continue to face in such unprecedented times.
Addressing the conference, Pradip Lulla said, “Our primary vision for our travel agent’s fraternity is foremost to ensure their security and their protection while making efforts to identify their business expansion possibilities. No future is safe till our present is safe for our travel agent’s fraternity. In line with that, we welcome the recent honourable apex court’s judgement to get their refunds from cancellations due to the pandemic. We have worked long and hard to ensure that our agents get back our rightful refunds.”
Further, he urged all from the travel and tourism industry to build on this further collectively to ensure security for the travel agents.
Highlighting the same, he said, “Travel agents' payments to principals is unsecured credit and we need to ensure that some form of mechanisms whether escrow or guarantee or underwriting based mechanisms are in place to ensure that travel agents' money stays secure. We look forward to working with the Government on the same.”
Speaking of the opportunities that lie ahead, Lulla informed that India is going to be one of the biggest source markets for outbound travel and this would entail to be the largest opportunity for the travel agent’s fraternity. In 2019, 27 million Indians travelled outwards. This has doubled over the past 10 years and post Covid19, it is likely to double again to almost 50 million travellers in less than 10 years.
In regard to this, he reiterated that the goal must be to enable the travel agent’s fraternity to provide Indian consumers the best on the class tourism experiences.
Another key opportunity that was spoken about was the need to increase the number of countries' opportunities for our travel agent’s fraternity. He said, “Currently 10 countries account for almost 70 per cent of travel outbound destinations from India and our vision is to expand the basket of countries in the post covid world to create more opportunities for travel and thus more travel booking opportunities. The applicability of TCS puts our travel agent’s business models under threat as they make us expensive to book by 5 – 10 per cent. Even though the advance tax is settled at the end of the year during the year, it puts a liquidity concern by blocking money and will also raise the issue of reconciliation.”
Concluding the address, Pradip Lulla said, “Our travel agents fraternity are a critical link between tourists and our principals’ destinations, airlines, hotels ,restaurants, payment mechanisms. Our constant vision will strengthen this ecosystem to ensure multiple experiences are available to Indian tourists brought to them by our travel agents’ fraternity. Today our travel agents are under a huge business stress and we keenly look forward to a mechanism to ensure they get support for survival.”
Around The World