Srinagar: Kashmir is preparing to host its biggest tourism gathering in three decades, as major players and policymakers in the travel industry across India will meet in the Valley for a convention in March.
Fighting negative perceptions and the sliding tourist count to Kashmir, the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism department along with the all the stake holders including Travel Agents Association Kashmir (TAAK) and Travel Agents Association of India(TAAI), is all set to host the biggest tourism convention.
The move, seen as a ray of hope, comes at a time when the tourism sector in Kashmir has been undergoing a major downfall despite varied efforts by the Tourism department and all other stakeholders.
Talking to ‘Kashmir Vision’ TAAK General Secretary Farooq Kathu said that it was because of the joint efforts by the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department along with TAAK and TAAI, that we were able to grab the opportunity of holding such a huge event here in Kashmir.
“The convention is going to be a game -changer viz-a-viz Kashmir Tourism. There will be around 500 to 600 prominent and influential travel agents who will participate in the convention which will be held from 27th March to 30th March,” Kathu said.
“Once they (foreign travel agents) are here, other travel agents will also follow suit which will definitely convince tourism players from other parts of the world. This will help Kashmir Tourism to flourish in the long run,” Kathu added.
The participants will first hold a meeting at SKICC and then the guests will be familiarized with different tourist destinations across Kashmir, Kathu said.
“We will familiarize the foreign tourism players with different destinations across Kashmir like Gulmarg and Pahalgam and they will be given the feel of ground situation here” Kathu said.
Notably, Kashmir has hosted the event seven times, all before 1988. Over 10 tourism players from foreign countries and representatives of various states are also expected to attend the 64th convention of TAAI.
“Over 10 tourism players from foreign countries and representatives of various states including Thailand, Bangladesh, Malaysia, UAE, Oman as well as agents from India are expected to attend the 64th convention of Travel Agents Association of India, Kathu said.
The participants are expected to chalk out a strategy and help re-launch Kashmir as a complete international tourist destination.
Notably, the convention holds significance as it usually happens at a famed global destination. This year the convention was expected to take place in China, however with the joint efforts put forth by the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department, Travel Agents Association of India and Travel Agents Association Kashmir, the Tourism Association of India was convinced to hold the convention in Kashmir.