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‘We will reengineer and rebrand TAAI’

Sunil Kumar, President, Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), shares his perspective on the future course of action for TAAI

Do not you think that TAAI’s relevance in last 6-8 years has taken a beating?

The membership trend has gone down slightly as many IATA agents have surrendered IATA. The moment you give up IATA you ceased to be the member of TAAI. However, we have decided to create quality. The other challenge in India is that there are too many associations. TAAI is formidable and one of the goals we have today, we want to create verticals – tourism verticals, inbound verticals. We need to re-engineer TAAI to use our resource bank. I hope one of our initiatives is to introduce an in-house magazine which acknowledged good members. We need to share best practices. My focus today is that we should be capable of handling tomorrow. So, we want to bring in small changes. Wait for a few months and you will see the change. By end of this year, we will show the result.

What are the new initiatives that you are going to take?

Strengthening partner relationship is one approach. Image building is second and third one is to create leadership in the TAAI. We need to be a good communicator. It is people who bring success to the association. We have devised the agenda for regions/chapters. We have 20 chapters and going to add one or two more. Every chapter has been asked to strengthen the association.

TAAI being an Indian agents association is organising its annual convention overseas. The way TAAI’s overseas convention was conducted raised questions?

As far as convention is concerned, there is a change in industry. Earlier, we were getting good support from the airline industry. These days’ airlines have no money and we do not get support like earlier for the convention. There is also a problem of venue and availability of hotel rooms for the convention as it is a large size convention. We have brought transparency in last convention and Bali was one of the classiest conventions. We did a ‘Namaste India’ dinner in Bali and invited every tour operators in Bali. Once we are strong with vertical, we will have no worries. Everything was clear and transparent related to Bali convention.

TAAI has an image crisis and this was the manifest in last few elections. How are you going to bring back the image of TAAI as an industry association?

I do not believe that more than 40 per cent of the TAAI members vote for a particular candidates where there is no merit. They are intelligent electorate and this is clear from this year’s result. Secondly, the team is quite clear that they have business to execute. I am keeping a close tab on all functional aspects of TAAI. I have no fascination to run around and haggle glory. For me, TAAI is much more than an association, it is a passion. I can’t be a non-performer and receive the feedback that TAAI’s image is going down. I am going to sacrifice my comfort and I am ready to do it for TAAI. I truly believe that given the opportunity this Committee will produce the result. We are going to inject a lot of fuel in strengthening the best of TAAI. In coming months, you will find a rebranded TAAI.  My question to the Management Committee is, are we informing our members or educating our members? We are on a new path. We will reengineer and rebrand TAAI and bring the glory back.

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