Exciting things have been happening in the world of Travel in India! An eclectic and elite gathering converged at the Trident Hotel, BKC, Mumbai, on the 16th of November 2016, for the first ever India Travel Summit. And we are proud to tell you that it was Thomas Cook India’s unique initiative, spearheaded by our own Abraham Alapatt – President and Group Head – Marketing, Service Quality, Financial Services and Innovation! Its aim was to provide a platform for the mutual exchange of ideas between the key stakeholders of the travel and tourism industry in order to meet the new challenges and ever-changing dynamics of the travel scene. The Summit enabled the sharing of best practices and experiences to collectively address the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities of collaborating in the future.
The Summit was attended by over a 100 travel professionals by invitation only – Airline Reps, Government officials, Hoteliers, Tourism Boards, Consulates…all those who could be instrumental in increasing and improving the Indian Travel Industry.
Abraham said, “Travel & Tourism is a dynamic industry, largely impacted by many variables. Despite India emerging as a significant player in the travel space, there wasn’t a dedicated forum for players to delve on topics of relevance to the industry as a whole. India is poised to grow manifold in the inbound and outbound spaces, and the government is also working towards it by developing new airports and investing in tourism infrastructure. In this context, we decided to bring together, decision-makers of various hotels, airlines, travel & tour companies and government representatives of the industry on a single platform to focus on topics, representing challenges and opportunities.”
The summit was divided into 3 focused panel discussions each moderated by Thomas Cook India Group key spokespersons.
Panel I: Moderated by Mahesh Iyer, Chief Operating Officers, Thomas Cook (India) Limited.
Topic: “Distinguishing Friends from Foes – Security challenges today and how we protect our borders while ensuring bona fide visitors travel unhindered – Consular challenges and best practices.”
- Andre Ruche – France Consul
- Norbert RÉVAI-BERE – Hungary Consul General
- Martin Oppus – Deputy USA Consular Chief
- M.L. Ramokgopa – South Africa Consul General
- Colin Jones – UKVI Regional Operations Manager
Panel II: Moderated by Vishal Suri, Managing Director, SOTC Travel Services Pvt. Ltd.
Topic: “The Next Wave of Indian Global Travelers – Making the most of the large & growing Indian Outbound market opportunity. Challenges & best practices to promote outbound T&T”
- Sheetal Munshaw- Director – Atout France
- Urs Eberhard- Switzerland Tourism – Head of Markets
- Nishant Kashikar- Country Manager – Tourism Australia
- GB Srithar- Regional Director – South Asia, Middle East & Africa
Panel III: Moderated by Dipak Deva, Managing Director, Travel Corporation (India) Limited
Topic: “Reigniting Incredible India! – Challenges, opportunities & best practices to attract tourists to India. What we can do to help India gain its rightful place on the world tourism map?”
- Suman Billa – Joint Secretary of (Tourism), Ministry of Tourism, Government of India
- Ragini Chopra – Vice President, Corporate Communications & Public Relations, Jet Airways
- Renu Basu – Global VP sales, Taj Hotels and Resorts
- David Scowsill – President & CEO, WTTC
The event was graced by over 100 dignitaries from across countries such as Switzerland, Ras Al Khaimah, Yas Island etc. and was followed by cocktails and dinner.
David Scowsill, President & CEO, WTTC, aptly put it in a nutshell when he said, “There lies a good opportunity for public–private partnerships to create a structure jointly, and then have a professional marketing organisation to go out and promote the destination.”
The Summit was very well received and was considered such a success that we hope to organise more such events across the country in future!