‘Africa has worse infra but draws huge tourists’
Stating that Kashmir is safer banking destination than Uttar Pradesh, the managing director of HDFC bank, Dr Aditya Puri Monday said bankers don’t face kidnapping cases in valley like in UP.
Dr Puri was speaking while interacting with a group of traders, hoteliers and other players after re-launching the bank’s MS Mall branch in Srinagar which was affected by floods.
He said the digital banking has the changed the whole concept of banking. “We launched it keeping the urban spaces in mind,” Dr Puri said. “We thought only urban areas will adopt it, but it is very encouraging sign to see how semi-urban and rural areas are also adopting it.”
During his interactions, Dr Puri offered his banks an impressive digital platform and marketing processes to promote some of the best brands in Kashmir through the Best Buy basket. “It could be as many as possible,” Dr Puri said. He also suggested usage of PayZapp for various business ventures and insisted the bank will go extra-mile in helping the local brands grow. He said the hospitality sector will be encouraged to use the bank website to reach out to customers and help them manage geographical linkages to optimize their operations.
One of the tourism players informed him that Kashmir is a complete destination, on which Dr Puri replied, “Kashmir needs only high end tourists. Otherwise, we know the fate of tourist places like Goa and UP.”
He stressed that Kashmir doesn’t need infrastructure to woo tourists. “What you need is package corridors,” he said. “Rise above this infrastructure debate. There is no bloody infrastructure in Africa and yet it draws a huge number of tourists.”
Notably, Dr Puri yesterday addressed a gathering of 450 HDFC bankers at SKICC during two and a half hour interaction, receiving their feedback. In a more than 200 minute interaction with its staff, Dr Puri was keen to understand if the bank’s ideation and philosophy has travelled down the cadres and was happy that they are doing better than ICICI and SBI across the country and J&K. He heard the experiences of the staffers and later gave them an impressive motivational speech. Abhay Aima, the bank’s national equity head accompanied Dr Puri.
Dr Puri, a frequent Kashmir visitor shared his experiences with his Kashmir customers and suggested them to improve the services. “When I asked for fruit in breakfast, they got water melon,” Dr Puri said. “It was shocking to have this at a place that has apple in abundance.”
Reaction to the issues flagged by the hospitality sector, Dr Puri said the frequent reference to the so called lack of infrastructure should not hinder growth as long as ideas are around. “What has the infrastructure to do with a tourist who will be picked up at airport, driven to hotel and various destinations and then dropped back,” he argued.