AAHOA Delegation to India Strengthens Ties with Indian Government and Economy

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In an effort to strengthen ties with the Indian government as well as encourage growth of the travel and tourism industries, the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) hosted its 2012 Delegation to India. The Delegation, which was held January 6-11 and featured stops in Jaipur and Gujarat, consisted of more than 50 delegates including AAHOA Officers, Board members, vendor representatives and more several board members from Best Western International.

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As the Indian economy increases its foothold on the global scale, it is important to be mindful of the opportunities we have to foster that growth.

In an effort to strengthen ties with the Indian government as well as encourage growth of the travel and tourism industries, the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) hosted its 2012 Delegation to India. The Delegation, which was held January 6-11 and featured stops in Jaipur and Gujarat, consisted of more than 50 delegates including AAHOA Officers, Board members, vendor representatives and more several board members from Best Western International.

After arriving in India, delegates attended a special reception in Surat for the newly opened Auro University. The new university reached technical support and assistance agreement with the University of South Carolina in Columbia, S.C., which is among the leading American institutions of higher education. Degrees offered by the university include master’s and bachelor’s degrees in business administration as well a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management.

The first official stop for the Delegation included a visit to Jaipur for the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD), which is an event defined as the “Largest Gathering of the Global Indian Family.” With a theme of “Global Indian – Inclusive Growth,” this year’s three-day event a variety of educational seminars and interactive sessions with upwards of 1,900 attendees from more than 60 different countries. One of the highlights of PBD came when Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced the government had issued notifications for the registration of overseas voters under the Representation of People's Act of 1950, which constitutes the first major step to enable Indian residents abroad to participate in the election process. Other government officials who made appearances at PBD included Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi and Indian Minister of the State for Information Technology & Communications Sachin Pilot.

AAHOA Chairman Hemant Patel participated in an educational seminar titled “Meeting with Diaspora,” where he informed everyone of AAHOA’s prominence as the voice of hotel owners in the American lodging industry with nearly 11,000 members who own more than 40 percent of all U.S. hotels. With the growing Indian Diaspora estimated to exceed 25 million people, some people argue that its growth illustrates brain drain of India’s brightest and most successful. ”It’s not brain drain for India.” said Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee. “Instead, it is brain gain for the global community.”

AAHOA Delegates also briefly met with Chief Minister of Rajasthan Ashok Gehlot, who encouraged the delegates to pursue investment opportunities in Rajasthan. Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, also addressed AAHOA delegates on the importance of properly upholding the positive international reputation of Indian Diaspora and commended them for doing their part.

From Jaipur, the Delegation then traveled to Gujarat where they attended a ceremony in Vallabh Vidhyanagar at the C.Z. Patel College of Business and Management, which offers AAHOA’s Certified Hotel Management curriculum administered by Kapoor & Kapoor Consultants. AAHOA Officers awarded scholarships to eight deserving students from various academic fields offered by the college, including hospitality management. With the help of the college’s Honorary Chairman Dr. C.L. Patel, the Officers met with graduates to discuss potential job offers in the United States.

Delegates also attended a reception hosted by Sunil Kakkad, chairman of the Gujarat branch of the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (IACC) and Himanshu Vyas, former IACC chairman, on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. The Delegation ended at the International Kite Flying Festival in Ahmedabad where they attended a private meeting with Chief Minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi to discuss AAHOA’s continued support for the hotel industry in Gujarat and the further development of what is commonly referred to as “Vibrant Gujarat.”

Following the Delegation, Chairman Hemant Patel and Vice Chairman Alkesh Patel attended the Hotel Investment Forum India Conference in Mumbai. Hemant Patel participated in a workshop titled “How to Finance a Hotel.” As another note of importance, Hemant Patel was honored at an event held on January 1, 2012 before the Delegation officially began in his hometown of Navsari. The event was hosted by Leuva Patidar Samaj of Navsari. Hemant Patel and AAHOA Director at Large Bharat “Bruce” Patel attended an event at the Rotary Eye Institute in Navsari, where Hemant Patel was honored with a special plaque.

“This Delegation was a complete success on several fronts,” said Hemant Patel. “Our delegates used this trip as a chance to capitalize on several opportunities to strengthen political, economic and industrial ties with India. Between the highly productive meetings and events we attended and the enriching cultural experiences we shared, this trip will have a lasting impact for years to come.”

“Over the past decade, our industry has shared substantial growth with the continually developing Indian economy,” said AAHOA President Fred Schwartz. “As the Indian economy increases its foothold on the global scale, it is important to be mindful of the opportunities we have to foster that growth.”

About AAHOA
The Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) is THE voice of owners in the hospitality industry. Founded in 1989, AAHOA is now one of the fastest-growing organizations in the industry, with nearly 11,000 members owning more than 20,000 hotels that total $128 billion in property value. AAHOA members employ 578,600 full- and part-time workers with a $9.4 billion payroll. AAHOA Officers include Chairman Hemant D. “Henry” Patel; Vice Chairman Alkesh R. Patel, CHO; Treasurer Mehul B. “Mike” Patel, CHA; Secretary Pratik R. Patel, CHA, CHO; and President Fred Schwartz, each of whom works closely with a 33-member Board of Directors to provide direction for the association. AAHOA is dedicated to promoting and protecting the interests of its members by inspiring excellence through programs and initiatives in advocacy, industry leadership, professional development, member benefits, and community involvement.

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