Tourist footfall from SE Asia encouraging: Secy Tourism
Srinagar, Oct 20: Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Alliance (JKTA) held its 15th Annual General Meeting (AGM) Saturday here during which an award ceremony honouring veterans of the travel and hospitality sector, its founder members and past presidents besides media persons was also held.
Commissioner Secretary Culture Mohammad Saleem Shishgar, Secretary Tourism Rigzin Samphel, Secretary Information, Youth Service and Sports Sarmad Hafeez, Director Tourism Kashmir Tasaduq Jeelani, Special Secretary School Education Mohammad Hussain Mir, Deputy Directors Masrat Hashim and Sarfarz Mohammad were also present. Speaking on the occasion, Rigzin Samphel said tourist footfall from South East Asian countries was increasing which is an encouraging sign. He said the department is organizing Kashmir Autumn Festival from October 25 to October 27 at Srinagar, Pahalgam and Gulmarg in which 100 delegates from travel and media industry have been invited to showcase the state’s tourism potential and counter negative perception. “We will be inviting the leading tourism destination sellers from across the country on a FAM tour here during the festival so that they get the first-hand experience of how beautiful the Valley is and how freely the tourists are enjoying holidays and local hospitality. This will help us counter negative perception to a greater extent,” he said. While complementing JKTA for holding its AGM, Sarmad Hafeez said tourism industry has always bounced back and is the resilient sector. He said the local travel fraternity worked very hard for the success of Travel Agents Association of India convention held in Srinagar which helped improve general perception about Kashmir. “People all over the country want to visit Kashmir. We need to tell them positive stories from J&K. Most of the time media plays up circumstances here but there are hundreds of the other positive stories which are worth sharing and can help build confidence among travellers to visit Kashmir,” he said. The Special Secretary School Education Department said besides other tourism products, the J&K State has to exploit the potential MICE, golf, wedding and educational tourism. He said if school and college tours are organized here, the students will definitely motivate their parents to visit Kashmir for holidaying. Earlier, Chairman JKTA Manzoor Pakhtoon delivered the welcome address while as its secretary general Tanveer Dar read out the AGM report.