July 31, 2019
Out to root out fraud in the travel and tourism sector, tour companies in Coimbatore formed an association with certified members in 2014. The success saw this expand to other districts.
Travel Agents Association of Coimbatore (TAAC) has its headquarters on Sambandam Road East in RS Puram.
PK Ganesh, owner of Express Holidays Company in Coimbatore, told The Covai Post, “We have about 65 members from Coimbatore, Salem, Erode, Tirupur, Ooty, Mettupalayam, Pollachi and Udumalpet. TAAC’s main aim is to ensure members’ welfare, address their grievances and develop tourist destinations in India and abroad. We also want to discourage clients from using travel agents without proper licence.
“Such people will lure customers with cheap travel packages, abandon the customers without refunds or shut down offices without prior notice. So our members must have requisite documents like GST papers, bank statements, tour records, proper office, landlines and the recommendation of an existing TAAC member.”
He added, “We have a one-time membership fee, yearly renewal fee, monthly meetings and annual free tours for members to update on tourism news, travel rules and regulations and any change in foreign countries. If customers have complaints against any member, they can approach TAAC and we will investigate. If it is genuine, the member can be debarred. Our organisation has regulated the business.”
An example of their strictness was in 2016 when complaints were lodged with Coimbatore police against Mertian Tours in Coimbatore and Travel Craft Company in Tiruppur for defrauding customers.
VC Krishnarajh, owner of Travel Professionals, on Avinashi Road and founder of TAAC, said, “Even last month we filed police complaints against a travel company in Ganapathy whose owners had absconded after collecting Rs 9 crore from customers for a Europe tour. The customers had given their passports to these agents. We managed to recover that but the money is yet to come.
“So, I advise travellers to verify prices and certification with us before booking tours with such tour operators. After TAAC was formed, many tourists from Singapore, Malayasia and others contact us for their Indian visits. We are also working with the Coimbatore Chamber of Commerce and the Airline Association of Coimbatore to attract more visitors to southern Tamil Nadu.”