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Subhash Goyal to lead IATO

New Delhi, December, 2011The Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) held its elections for the 2011-2013 Office Bearers and Executive committee. The elections took place at the Claridges Hotel in New Delhi. Mr. Subhash Goyal and his team were elected with overwhelming majority to lead the association for the next two years.

This year’s elections created a new record in IATO’s history in member participation. Of a 274 eligible voters, 256 exercised their franchise. A record 93% is the highest voter turnout in any IATO election announced Goyal.

President is Mr. Subhash Goyal (Stic Travels Pvt. Ltd. (183 votes), Sr. Vice President is Mr. Sarab Jit Singh,{Travelite (India (156 Votes) , Vice President is Mr. Rajeev Kohli (Creative Travel Pvt. Ltd. (167 Votes), Hony. Secretary is Mr. Lally Mathews (Vacations Travels & Tours Pvt. Ltd. (161 votes), Hony. Treasurer is Mr. Arun Anand (Midtown Travels Pvt. Ltd.) (165 votes) and Hony. Joint Secretary isMr. Lajpat Rai (Lotus Trans Travel Pvt. Ltd.) (161 votes). The active Executive Committee Members are Mr. Amaresh Kumar Tiwari (A.T. Seasons and Vacations Travel Pvt. Ltd.) – won with 130 votes, Mr. E.M. Najeeb (The Great India Tour Company Pvt. Ltd.) – won with 193 votes, Mr. Rajiv Mehra (Uday Tours & Travel Pvt. Ltd.) – won with 173 votes, Mr. Ramesh Wattal (Welcome Travels) – won with 139 votes and Mr. Ravi Gosain (Erco Travels Pvt. Ltd.) – won with 157 votes Allied Executive Committee Members are Mr. N.S. Rathor (Garha Tours Pvt. Ltd.) – won with 160 votes, Mr. O.P. Mendiratta (Parkland Group of Hotels) – won with 173 votes and Mr. Sunil Gupta (Travel Bureau) – won with 223 votes.Also on the committee there will be outgoing President Vijay Thakur in the constitutional seat reserved for this position.

Mr. Subhash and his team campaigned under the theme of “Moving Forward” and promised complete transparency. He briefly announced the team’s agenda which focused the areas such as to deliver greater transparency in the functioning of IATO with a greater focus on the needs of small & medium members, to move IATO from being a reactive body to being a proactive body, to bring in a greater degree of foresightedness on how IATO money is to be spent, to bring in a greater emphasis on training, skills building and giving practical tools to help members grow and sustain their businesses, and to create an industry "Code of Conduct" between the members that governs the way they treat each other and our partners.

Adhoc Taxation is levied on Transport sector by each state. Tax on vehicles of home state and visiting vehicles from other states vary from state to state. There is an urgent need of rationalization of the taxation on transport by different state governments. Uniform taxes need to be adopted and transport tax should not be considered separate subject.

Road Tax should not be charged on the number of seats in the bus but on the actual number of passengers in the bus. This would ensure augmentation of tourist buses in the shortest possible time. A full proof mechanism to implement this can be worked out in consultation with the tax authorities. Also there should be single tax collection point for the inter-state tourist vehicles moving from one state to another state to avoid un-necessary harassment causing delay and inconvenience to the tourists. All State Transport Taxes should be covered under the GST. Smart Card should be introduced to avoid delays and waiting time at borders.

IATO welcome Visa on Arrival scheme for 11 countries. It is now that the scheme should be further extended to other countries as well. It is imperative to introduce the concept of e.visas at par with some of the advanced nations, after having worked out a full proof mechanism keeping in view the security/safety angle in mind.
There are some instances that bonafide tourists want to revisit India within 60 days of their last visit. The matter to be re-looked and government should withdraw the condition of 60 days gap between the last exits from India as the Commonwealth Games are over now. This discourages business groups and also the groups who wish to re-enter India within 60 days, from their own country or after visiting South East or Far East countries like Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Dubai as their final departure is from India. Case under reference is request from Trailblazers Tours India Pvt. Ltd.

There is delay in issuing Visas as the Missions abroad and agency appointed by the Embassies take their own time. Outsourcing to other tour companies (including some tour operators) has created a logjam. The average time taken for the Visas is 15 to 25 days.

Indian Missions are not willing to accept passports for Visa in one go and clients are asked to submit passports in small nos. Clients are required to make separate cheque for every lot submitted.