The COVID-19 pandemic has exerted a tremendous impact on the tourism, hospitality and technology industry worldwide. Last year, inspired by the feedback from India’s small hotels, independent hosts and travel operators, leading players of the industry such as Airbnb, EaseMyTrip, OYO and Yatra started to discuss how interests of and challenges faced by these new age entrepreneurs building travel businesses beyond tier-1 cities of India, could also become an inclusive part of thought leadership and advocacy for the industry.
The COVID-19 crisis presents a unique opportunity to collaborate on reviving the industry and only progress upwards from here on.
To empower the voice of smaller operators in the ecosystem, travel and hospitality tech players – Airbnb, EaseMyTrip, OYO and Yatra – have come together to back and enable 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 programmes 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 for India, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan in Airbnb; Nishant Pitti, co- founder and CEO in EaseMyTrip.com; Rohit Kapoor, CEO in OYO India & Southeast Asia and Dhruv Shringi, co-founder and CEO in Yatra.com.
In a virtual digital launch event hosted by CHATT, Prahlad Singh Patel, minister for tourism and culture (independent charge) in 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.
“The Tourism Ministry is continuously making efforts to make the data available of hotels, home-stays 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,” he said.