Insightful, informative and interactive — these were a few words that best described the 12th edition of the annual convention hosted by the Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI).
The TAFI convention, hosted at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi from September 25 to September 27, brought together scores of high-performing tour operators and travel agents under one roof. The well-structured event, facilitated by the Department of Culture and Tourism, Abu Dhabi, focused on the theme, ‘Innovate, Transform, Disrupt: Redefining the Offline Travel World.’
The event brought to light practical solutions to problems faced by the tourism industry. It helped travel agents set objectives, allocate time wisely, and invest in areas that needed improvement.
Praveen Chugh, President of TAFI, said that the objective of the convention is to educate and empower travel agents at a time the tourism industry is reinventing itself to meet the changing expectations and rapid technological advancements.
TAFI 2018 also doled out an impressive bunch of speakers. Otto de Vries, the CEO of ASATA (Association of South African Travel Agents) and the former chairman of WTAAA (World Travel Agents Association Alliance), stressed the need for travel agents to go digital. Shedding light on the potential of online technologies, he chalked out various strategies that might come in handy for an Indian tour operator.
Motivational speaker Dr Pawan Agrawal won the hearts of many when he cited the inspiring case study of the Mumbai Dabbawalas. He explained that when tour operators place customers’ interests at the heart of their business, they will embrace success and profitability.
Dr Vivek Bindra, a thought leader, empowered many tour operators when he shed light on the importance of good leadership. Nithya Shanti, an acclaimed teacher of joyful and conscious living, encouraged delegates to indulge in positive thinking.
Other keynote speakers who spoke about the latest tourism trends are Mark Meader, the incoming chairman of WTAAA; Andrew Bowman, Director, BFT Management; William Boulter, Chief Commercial Officer, InterGlobe Aviation; Aashish Gupta, founder of StrategyPluto, and others.
HE Saif Saeed Ghobash Undersecretary DCT, HE Sultan Al Mutawa Al Dhaheri, Executive Director DCT, HE Navdeep Singh Suri, Ambassador of India to the UAE, inaugurated the convention along with other TAFI delegates.
“Hosting an event of this caliber is a testament to Abu Dhabi’s growing reputation as a world-class destination for high-profile conventions and meetings,” said HE Saif Saeed Ghobash.
“As the UAE continues to further boost its knowledge-based economy, tourism is singled out as one of the leading sectors that guide our vision and strategy for the future. Against this backdrop, we recognize India as one of Abu Dhabi’s top overseas source markets for guests, as it has recorded a remarkable upward trend over the last few years. As such, we are proud to host this prestigious event and invite all attendees to take the time to explore the Emirate’s rich offerings and enjoy unique experiences whilst they are here,” he added.
Senthil Gopinath named Business Events Strategist of the Year
Senthil Gopinath, the CEO of ICCA, was recently recognized for his contribution to the association meetings industry. At the 2019 PCMA Visionary Awards on May 7, which was held in Washington DC, Gopinath was named the Business Events Strategist of the Year.
At the event, Gopinath was recognized for bringing in creativity to the meetings industry. A leader and mentor, Gopinath has spent over two decades bringing innovation to the association industry space.
In his acceptance speech, Gopinath said:” Winning such a global award means a lot to me and is a true endorsement of my dedication and contribution towards the development of the meetings industry over two decades. Moreover, being a part of an elite group of international meetings industry professionals and winning such accolade is truly exciting.”
“I dedicate this award to ICCA, and recognition of such high caliber will enable me to implement key strategies amongst the ICCA members and stakeholders in a more focused manner. Such acknowledgment will enable me to enhance consistency with regards to my plans for ICCA. In addition, I will be able to develop meetings industry education by working with esteemed institutions such as PCMA,” he added.
IETF to showcase futuristic events technologies for India
Latest technologies are set to outline the way forward in the planning and execution of events. The Indian events industry is equally impacted by various advancements that are surfacing with new technology, new equipment, new ideas and methods of executing events. The industry will surpass the Rs. 10,000 crore mark by 2021. Set to take place on May 24, Shangri La’s, New Delhi, India Event Technology Forum (IETF) will be the ultimate platform for event organizers to discover the latest technologies in AR, VR, Projection Mapping, Networking, Event apps, Ticketing, Registrations, etc. IETF will also give an exclusive opportunity to launch new products and innovations to technology providers. The event will focus on the theme, “Building a roadmap towards enhancing events and customers experience with technology.” Officials from corporate event teams, operations, wedding organizers, conference and exhibition organizers, ad agencies, event management companies are expected to attend the event.
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