Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Alliance (JKTA) held its 15th Annual General Meeting here at ITC Fortune Heevan Resort, Nishat during which it also held an award ceremony honoring veterans of the travel and hospitality sector, its founder members and past presidents besides media persons.
Secretary Tourism Rigzin Samphel was the chief guest on the occasion while as Secretary Youth Service and Sports Sarmad Hafeez and Special Secretary School Education Department, Mohammad Hussain Mir, Commissioner/Secretary, Culture Department Mohammad Saleem Shishgar, Director Tourism Kashmir Tasaduq Jeelani, 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 J&K has everything to offer for travellers but was suffering from perception.
He said the department is organising 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 them 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 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 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.
Mohammad Hussain Mir 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 organised 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 AGM report.