Some of the delegates who attended the 47th UFTAA Congress, Bali 2014
This year’s annual Congress, being the 47th one, was held on the beautiful ‘ Island of the Gods ’ - Bali. The Aston Ungasan Hotel & Convention Center was chosen as the venue for all the activities. For the first time UFTAA organized a B2B Travel Mart where delegates had the opportunity of conducting business with suppliers from Bali and the rest of Indonesia.
The events kicked off by a pre-Congress B2B which was Fully Hosted by the authorities of Makassar. Delegates participating at the UFTAA Travel Mart - Bali B2B were given the opportunity to participate at the Makassar B2B and had to arrive in Bali on 13 November and fly to Makassar the following day, for a two-night-stay. All Buyers were hosted in different hotels to sample the type of accommodation Makassar has to offer. A full tour to a nearby island was also included in the programme, this was followed by a dinner at one of the best hotels in Makassar.
Sunday 16th November
All Buyers returned to Bali. The UFTAA Board met that same afternoon and discussed various items which are reported in the President’s End-of-Year Message ( please visit www.uftaa.org ). In the evening a welcome dinner was organized by The Magani Hotel in Kuta, Bali.
On Monday, the 17th morning, the Opening Ceremony was held and both the President of UFTAA, Joe BORG OLIVIER and the President of ASTINDO, Elly HUTABARAT welcomed all delegates and wished them a good and successful congress. The President commented on the number of delegates present and he was sorry to report that around fifty delegates from all over the world could not make it to Bali due to Visa problems. He expressed his concern that some of the delegates were even promised their visa to await them at their airport of departure; this did not happen and they had to turn back. He stressed that Governments, if they really wanted tourism, should make it easier on bona fide tourists and congress delegates to be given a hassle-free visa. He urged the general meeting that was to meet the following day, to issue a strong recommendation to all governments for tourists to have Freedom to Travel.
The first speaker, under Business Sessions, was the Duty Free Shops ( DFS ) representatives, Mr. Levie LANTU who gave us a good insight on opportunities and offers available to tourists. He also encouraged agents to promote such business and suggested that an agreement for the UFTAA ID Card could be entered into between UFTAA and DFS. The Master Of ceremonies, Devinder OHRI promised that UFTAA will look into the possibility of doing business for its members, with DFS.
The second speaker to address the delegates was Mr. Russel ANTONIO from AIG ( AIG Asia Pacific Insurance ) who spoke about the importance of Travel Insurance. He explained in detail the risks, about both finance and health, which the traveler encounters. At the end of both presentations there was a time for a Q & A.
In the afternoon the UFTAA Travel Mart B2B was held. A number of delegates attended the class room-style set up where suppliers, mainly hoteliers, had the opportunity of meeting Buyers from many parts of the world. The first UFTAA B2B was considered to be a success as seen from the pictures that are displayed on UFTAA’s website. Hoteliers present spoke highly of the event. UFTAA will be posting all the hotels’ names and contact persons on the website. Both the Makassar and the UFTAA Bali Travel mart were organized in conjunction with RajaMice of Jakarta.
The day was concluded with dinner at the MaxOne Hotel.
Tuesday, 18th November was reserved for UFTAA’s Annual General Assembly.
The doors opened at 09:00HRS. The roll call was ready out and once the quorum was established the president declared the meeting open.
All documents relating to the AGA were dispatched before arriving in Bali, however the President gave an over view of the proceedings on the previous Annual General Assembly that took place in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. A number of matters arising from the Abidjan minutes were dealt with and finally the minutes were approved.
The new Board structure as approved by the Board in its previous meeting was read to the floor and after some discussions the delegates voted nem con for the restructured Board.
The President gave an overview of the year 2014 and spoke at length about UFTAA‘s recovery. He said that once more IATA has recognized the importance of UFTAA as one of the leading bodies that represent the world travel agents. UFTAA has once more gained its reputation of a professional body with PAPGJC, PAConf and all IATA levels. The President emphasized however, that if UFTAA has to remain on the top that it has regained, it mainly depends on the support of its membership through moral, financial and advisory input.
The subjects of the ID cards, UFTAA-IATA Training, future meetings, forums, participation by members in committees, and other business were brought up and discussed in depth. Members present also criticized UFTAA and the President welcomed such criticism saying that as long as members criticize constructively and not destructively, then he welcomed all as he said that this shows that UFTAA is alive. He then turned on the Congress Theme – The Way Ahead. He said that many has asked why the way ahead and not the way forward? He explained that as the travel agent stands now, one has to see what lies ahead before continuing on a safe road. It is futile to walk blindly and try one’s luck. He urged those present to help UFTAA look through the telescope and search for what is in store for the agents, then through consultations, studies and decisions will plan The Way Forward!
One of the agenda items was to give awards or to mention members who have helped UFTAA in the Past. The President said that some members deserve a mention and that these will eventually be given a certificate to thank them for their services. Ahmet NEKATI OZKAN of North Cyprus and Mohammed ABOSALEM of Cairo were two of those mentioned. The President then went on to recommend the award of Honorary Board Member to Mr. Birger BÄCKMAN, who has been on UFTAA’s Board for around five years, has been UFTAA’s CEO for a number of years and to date and time he is the advisor to the President and the Board. A brief curriculum vitae were read to the floor, which after a number of positive observations, Mr. BÄCKMAN was approved nem con.
The AGA was adjourned for 19th November at 09:00 HR
The morning sessions continued after coffee when Mr. Dusan KOSTIC, IATA Regional Director FDS started his presentation which was concluded late afternoon. It was a very interesting presentation and with Mr. KOSTIC’s permission his presentation is being reproduced on UFTAA’s website.
Mr. Kostic’s presentation was followed by a short OPEN FORUM II where general topics were discussed.
Farewell dinner was held at a seafront restaurant in Kuta, Bali.
Wednesday 19th started early with the continuation of the AGA where the financial situation of UFTAA was presented by VPF Mr. Richard LOHENTO after lengthy discussions and clarifications the accounts were approved.
Finally the delegates adopted a Resolution titled: Freedom of Tourism. A copy of the resolution is found on UFTAA’s website.
Freedom of Tourism, an excellent presentation was made by the incumbent Acting President of the Indian Association, TAAI, who happens to be one of the newly endorsed Board members of UFTAA. This dealt with the importance of educating our staff. He related to the present agreement that UFTAA has with IATA under the IATA-UFTAA Training programme.
After all presentations and business sessions ended, the President closed the AGA, Congress and all sessions by thanking all those who found the time and effort to join UFTAA’s activities. He sent a message of solidarity to those who could not be present especially those who encountered problems in travelling to Bali. He assured one and all that now that UFTAA has a new strong Board, he was confident that the Board will work in UFTAA’s interests and urged all to contact him or any of the Directors where and when assistance is needed. He finally thanked the members of the UFTAA team who worked hard to make this congress a success. Last but not least he thanked Mr. Devinder OHRI who did a marvelous job as the Master of Ceremonies.
The floor passed a vote of thanks to the President for his tireless work for UFTAA and on the way he conducted the meetings.
The Congress and AGA activities came to an end at noon, when the President declared the meetings closed.
Delegates were then taken to a local venue for lunch which was followed by some cultural visits and shopping.
Departure of delegates
Thursday 20th November
The UFTAA Board met at 08.30HR for the first meeting, after the AGA, giving start to another year. The dates for the next Board meeting were discussed and the Board approved the invitation by UFTAA’s member from North Cyprus to hold their next Board meeting.
The questions on ID cards, Web hosting, administration were also discussed.
The problem arising in Central and West Africa was brought to the attention of directors and the President promised to write to IATA and object about the illegality for an airline to unilaterally present a motion at PACong for the change in the Local Financial Criteria – for settlement to be changed from once monthly to twice monthly. This has been done without prior agreement at the CWA APJC. ( More information can be found on the President’s End-of-Year Message to members on UFTAA’s Website. )
The Board was adjourned at 12:00HR for North Cyprus late February 2014.
Departure of Board Members and UFTAA Team.
Report prepared by
The UFTAA Team December 2014 ©