Travel and hospitality tech players such as Airbnb, EaseMyTrip, OYO and Yatra have come together to form an industry association - Confederation of Hospitality, Technology and Tourism Industry (CHATT).
CHATT aims to promote domestic tourism, lead the digital transformation of tourism related business and operating models, proactively engage via advocacy programmes to be a thought leader, impart educational training and beneficial programs to all industry segments. Every member will be able to access all CHATT resources and benefits, including participation in year-round programs, signature business events, access to the travel-tech ecosystem, including the experts and regional leads among others.
The association comprises start-up founders and business leaders such as Amanpreet Bajaj, General Manager, Airbnb - India, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, Nishant Pitti, Co- Founder & CEO - EaseMyTrip.com; Rohit Kapoor, CEO - OYO India & Southeast Asia, and Dhruv Shringi, Co-Founder and CEO - Yatra.com.
In a virtual digital launch event hosted by CHATT, Prahlad Singh Patel, Union Minister for Tourism and Culture (IC), Government of India, attended as the Chief Guest. He lauded the efforts of the new-age technology, travel and hospitality companies who have come together to promote the interest of the smallest and often under-represented operators and work together with the government on various fronts in this space.
While launching CHATT, Patel said, “CHATT’s formation is a landmark decision to boost India’s robust domestic tourism market and support small hotel partners, homeowners, agents to expand their offerings catering to the needs of tourists. The Tourism Ministry is continuously making efforts to make the data available of hotels, homestays on the unified portal - NIDHI to benefit tourists and CHATT will play a crucial role in it. Vaccination is going to drive the tourism sector's revival and we are working on a uniform policy and setting up protocols for travellers getting vaccinated against COVID-19.
“The consolidated efforts by CHATT will be highly beneficial for SME, MSMEs hotel, homeowners, partners and I welcome them to join the various government committees to represent the unified voice of the industry.”
Arvind Singh, Secretary Tourism - Government of India said, “It’s a privilege to be present here at CHATT’s launch in the presence of the Honourable Minister. The founding members - Airbnb, EaseMyTrip, OYO and Yatra have worked tirelessly to revolutionize and bring change in the tourism industry by integrating technology, reaching out to small, medium entrepreneurs and addressing the gaps. The efforts of CHATT are highly inclusive and once the impact of second wave subsides - a group like CHATT will present greater economic impact. Technology is at the forefront of many initiatives at the Ministry of Tourism and we look forward to closely working with CHATT to strengthen the sector.”
Commenting on the development, Founding Members of CHATT said, “The work of CHATT is going to be important for promoting the interests of the small enterprises in the industry, by leveraging digital initiatives, and ongoing dialogue with the government - a role that has become all the more crucial in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our aim is to lead these efforts and fill in the missing pieces of technology, innovation in the tourism and hospitality industry. Throughout the pandemic, CHATT founding members - Airbnb, EaseMyTrip, OYO and Yatra have supported the Government's vision to revive the economy. With this foundation, we aim to safeguard the interests of small hotel, home and travel partners and become their voice.”