In a bid to showcase India to a large number of international members of American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), the India Chapter of ASTA is planning to host the International Destination Expo (IDE) in the country and is working on garnering support from the Ministry of Tourism (MoT), Government of India for the same. The idea of hosting IDE in India was mooted at ASTA’s Travel Retailing & Destination Expo which concluded earlier this month in Las Vegas. Elections for the new Managing Committee of the India Chapter were also conducted during this expo. Gajendra Singh Panwar, Director, Indo-Asia Leisure Travel Services Ltd has been elected as the President; Vishwas Makhija, Owner & Director, Insight India Tours as Vice President; Sanjeev Joshi, Director, Tourism India Management Enterprises as Secretary; and Rajan Mathur, Managing Director, Top Travels as Treasurer. The new office bearers will take charge from next month.
“The ASTA India Chapter is the largest chapter outside the US with more than 180 members. The immediate task of the new team is to increase membership by making the Chapter more effective as an organisation for developing business. We will also look at the possibility of setting up sub-committees as we have a good membership base in Mumbai, Kochi and Chennai, which has been very active in creating awareness about the various education programmes organised by the Chapter,” stated Panwar.
According to Panwar, they would also look at increasing the annual membership, which has not been hiked for the past four years. “The fee at the moment is very low as per the price index in the country. We have had discussions on this and we are planning to raise it to a decent amount, which will be decided in our next official meeting,” informed Panwar. The current yearly membership fee on the ASTA India Chapter website is listed as Rs 2,500.
Commenting on the issues that were discussed the International Chapter Presidents Committee (ICPC) in Las Vegas, Panwar said, “It was decided to apprise MoT of the ASTA’s strength and role in increasing the number of arrivals from US to India. I will be meeting the appropriate Ministry officials to put forth a proposal to consider ASTA International as a potential Tour Operator group from the US. Apart from this, setting up a meeting of ICPC with high-level MoT officials during the forthcoming WTM and ITB was also proposed. During this meeting, we will also discuss the plan to host IDE in India and Ministry’s support for the event.”
The new Executive Committee of ASTA’s International office was also elected by the Board of Directors in Las Vegas. Nina Meyer, CTC, MCC, DS was elected as ASTA President and Chairman and will serve with John Lovell, CTC, who was elected as Vice President and Secretary. Scott Pinheiro was elected as Treasurer. Also elected on the Executive Committee are Lee Thomas, CTC, Chair, Corporate Advisory Council (CAC), who will serve as Director-at-large and Tony Gonchar, as CEO, ASTA.