SRINAGAR: Kashmir Hotels and Restaurant Owners Federation (KHAROF) Saturday elected Wahid Malik as its new President in its 17th Annual General Meeting held here at Hotel Park, Srinagar.
Syed Masood A Shah was elected as Senior Vice President, Bashir Ahmad Bhat as Junior Vice President, Maqsood Ahmad as Secretary General, Vikram Madan as Joint Secretary General, Showkat Ahmad as Treasurer, Sajjad Rashid Shah as Publicity Secretary.
Director Tourism Kashmir Mahmood A Shah who was the chief guest on the occasion congratulated the elected members for taking for over KHAROF body.
Speaking on the occasion, Director Tourism Kashmir said the tourism industry is facing lot of challenges at present on account of low tourist footfall which the department and the stakeholders should address together.
He said the hoteliers have faced lot of difficulties in the recent past, first due to floods and then due to disturbances.
He urged hoteliers to take these challenges head-on to attract travellers back to the state.
“The floods destroyed the hotel properties which needed to be renovated and refurbished. Hoteliers after revamping their properties had hoped to host tourists again but the disturbances kept them away from Kashmir. We need to work together and synergise our efforts to bring back tourists to the state,” said Mahmood Shah.
Director tourism also informed the hoteliers about the Central Government’s new incentive schemes by virtue of which they can construct, upgrade and refurbish the hotels.
“Even the hotels located at Boulevard, Pahalgam, Sonamarg or Gulmarg can benefit under the new scheme,” said Shah.
Director tourism also informed the hoteliers about the overwhelming response of department’s tourism promotion on social media.
“We have been successful in creating a positive image of Kashmir through social media. Our ad film was an instant and huge hit which was appreciated across the country. Now we will run our camping through electronic media to give further push to our efforts of changing negative perception about Kashmir.”
Earlier, Director Floriculture Mohammad Hussain Mir highlighted the need of changing the marketing strategies in view of the fierce competition from other states and emerging new tourist destinations.
He said the phrase that ‘Kashmir is a paradise on Earth’ won’t always attract tourists and need was to bring in new tourism products and upgrade infrastructure to match the needs of modern-day tourist.
“If we don’t have clean roads and upgraded facilities, why would tourists visit the state? They have better and more affordable options to choose for holidaying,” he said.
Deputy Directors Peerzada Zahoor and Wasim Raja were also present on the occasion.
Others who spoke on the occasion include Chairman Pilgrim and Leisure Tour Operators Forum (PLTOF) Nasir Shah, Secretary General J&K Hoteliers Club Tariq Rashid Ghani, President Travel Agents Society of Kashmir (TASK) Mohammad Ibrahim Siah and former General Secretary Bar Association Bashir Siddiq also spoke on the occasion.
Outgoing Secretary General KHAROF Bashir A Bhat read out the AGM report while as outgoing Treasurer Vikram Madan presented the vote of thanks.
Executive Committee Members elected during the AGM include Muzaffar Ahmad Baba, Shabir Ahmad Bazaz, Dildar Ahmad Khan, Bashir Ahmad Karnai, Muneer Ahmad Khan, Jagjit Singh, Manzoor Ahmad Mantoo, Syed Ashfaq Ahmad Qadri, Farooq Sidiq, Bahir Sidiq.