Our Bureau

Hyderabad, Sept. 1

The Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) has called for a common taxation system throughout India. "We don't want multiple taxation. While the country is moving towards value added tax for goods, we would like the Government to introduce a common tax," Mr Ashwini Kakkar, President of TAAI, said.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr Kakkar said the association would raise this and several other issues that dogged the travel and tourism industry during the 55th TAAI convention. The four-day meet would begin on September 1 in Hyderabad.

Development of infrastructure to back tourism and the issue of visas were some of the other issues that needed immediate attention to develop the industry.

Public-private pacts

Mr Kakkar, who is also Executive Vice-Chairman of Mercury Travels Ltd, called for public-private initiatives to develop the industry. Issues of collaboration could be in the areas like hospitality sector.

Stating that India accounted for just 0.38 per cent of global arrivals, he said this showed that there was a huge opportunity. "In bound tourism is miniscule. But it indicates the potential," he said.

On technology front, he said the travel industry was gearing up for upcoming challenges like mobile commerce and convergence technologies. Ticket-less travel too would be a reality.

The meet, which is expected to be attended by 1,500 TAAI members, would be addressed by big names in travel, tourism, infrastructure and logistics sectors. The topic for the annual meet is `The Future is now.'

Mr Deep Kalra (CEO, MakeMyTrip.com), Mr Kiran Grandhi (Managing Director of GMR Infra), Mr Alok Sharma (President of Air Sahara), Capt Gopinath (Managing Director of Air Deccan) and Mr Vijay Mallya (Chairman of Kingfisher) would address the gathering.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated September 2, 2006)
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