ABHISHEK CHAKRABORTY – New Delhi
Viva Voyages, a travel representation and marketing company, held an outbound travel thought leadership meet at New Delhi recently to discuss the issues plaguing the outbound travel market. Appropriately named ‘Ayanaant’, which means solstice, the power packed meet saw a convergence of industry leaders coming up with ideas for innovation in the outbound travel industry.
The meet, which was attended by Parvez Dewan, secretary, ministry of tourism; Guldeep Singh Sahni, president, Outbound Tour Operators Association of India (OTOAI); J.B Singh, president and CEO InterGlobe Technology Quotient etc, had an extended participation from students, scholars and tourism boards too.
Ayanaant had panel discussions on specific trade verticals like cruise panel, online initiatives, MICE, where experts came together to share and exchange thoughts, ideas and experiences. The event also provided an opportunity for the convergence of senior managers and leaders of the outbound travel business in India to discuss strengths, challenges, opportunities and threats to the business in general and to shed light on the way forward.
Speaking on the need to do more to increase cruise travel in this part of the world, Ratna Chadha, Chief Executive Officer, Tirun Travel Marketing, said, “Though the market for Asian cruises is increasing year by year, a lot needs to be done to make cruising more popular and take it on a global platform. India is far behind the United States and other Western countries when it comes to cruising.”
While urging the government to do more than just hollow promises, Keki Master, senior vice-president, JM Baxi & Co, said, “Everytime there is a meet, we discuss a lot of issues and then forget once the meet gets over. This needs to change. We also have to improve the conditions of our ports, especially the ones in Mumbai, and give pasengers more priority. Only then one can have a better cruising experience.”
Vikas Khanduri, managing director and CEO of Viva Voyages Private Limited, said, “Across numerous conversations in the industry, we have been listening to an acute need for a thought leadership forum. I am so excited that on this day of summer solstice the leaders in the industry converged to raise the level of innovation and thought leadership.”
The meet also conferred outbound awards to Manjula Chaudhary, director, Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management, M Sajnani, director, Amity Institute of Travel and Tourism, and SC Bagri, vice-chancellor, Himgiri Zee University, for their contribution to the outbound travel market.