SAYONI BHADURI – Mumbai
Outbound travel and tour operators association (OTOAI) came together in Mumbai for their third meet and the first anniversary recently. Guldeep Singh Sahni, president, OTOAI said that there are issues that the outbound operators are concerned about. “We have no system to be recognised internationally. There was no platform prior to OTOAI,” he said. He then added that BRIC nations are known for their economic contribution to the world. “For India to succeed further it is important that we have the right infrastructure. This affects both inbound and outbound travel, they are complementary to each other,” he said.
One of the biggest challenges the industry faces is lack of clarity in the service tax. “It is so confusing and there is no known common strategy to follow. We have raised five objections, one of them is that tourism service providers in other nations cannot be taxed. This arbitration needs to be taken up as a community,” he said.
He also added that the association is keen to penetrate tier one and two markets; he also applauded the 42 companies who attended the meet.
Sahni said, “We are in process of organising luxury training sessions with an aim to encourage short hauls,” he said. He further added that destination management companies and national tourism offices are more than willing to invest in India bringing in forex. This goes to show the potential India has.