Khyber Himalayan Resort and Spa, Gulmarg and Air India hosted a “Familiarization Tour” for select UAE tour operators to Kashmir. The tour includes the gateway city Srinagar and Gulmarg, home of The Khyber.
During their stay at The Khyber from Oct 7 to Oct 9, the group visited Drung, Baba Reshi, St. Mary’s Church, and Maharani Mandir and took a ride on the Gondola. In Srinagar, they will visit the The Lalit Grand Palace Hotel, go on a shikara ride on Nageen Lake and experience living in a house boat.
Prior to arriving in the valley, the delegation spent four days in Ladakh as well, hosted by The Grand Dragon Ladakh. Air India has flights from the UAE to Delhi and connecting flights to Jammu, Leh and Srinagar.
According to Air India, during the last fiscal year (2014-15) 3600 passengers arrived in Srinagar from the UAE and in the past 6 months of this year alone (2015 -16) 2600 passengers have already arrived and it is estimated that by the end of March 2015, total number of arrivals will hit 6000. Moreover, for the next year (2016-17) the forecast is approximately 10,000 arrivals to Srinagar.”
“Kashmir is a wonderful place to be, be it in the context of hospitality, scenic view and cuisine, so here in Kashmir ought to be the best and basic infrastructure to facilitate the rush of tourists,” added Prashant CEO Travelweb.
People are not aware of Kashmir being so safe and beautiful to travel because of the communication gap and lack of infrastructure, but his initiative will definitely bridge this gap, the tour guides added.
Several steps have also been taken by the government to create par facilities for high-end travelers, and conference tourism while promoting high-end sports like golfing and skiing, which are very popular summer and winter sporting activities, especially in Gulmarg.
Resorts and facilities like The Khyber Himalayan Resort, the first luxury hotel in Gulmarg that compares with the best in the world, have already started attracting high-end tourists and business firms from India and overseas. In just a few years of launching the Resort has won several accolades and awards for its impeccable service, warm hospitality, and facilities at par with international standards.
After decades, Kashmir is back in the reckoning as a leading tourist destination. This tour was to showcase the beauty of Kashmir and the infrastructure available for high end customers. It was also to scatter the perception that Kashmir is unsafe and that incidents frequently reported in the media are not the norm.
Parminder Singh of Air India said, “We are happy to bring this delegation of tour operators from the UAE and experience firsthand this beautiful state, I am very thankful to The Khyber, Mascot Travels and The Lalit Hotels for organising the their stay and for such an amazing hospitality.
Air India has extended its support to tourism in J&K by offering attractive fares starting from 690 AED one way and 1295 AED for return fare ex Dubai to Srinagar.
“I am pleased to host the delegation and hope they would promote Kashmir as it has so many destinations and a range of activities to offer throughout the year. “For the UAE market, Gulmarg would be of special interest as it is one of the world’s best ski destinations,” says Mr. Umar Tramboo.
On this occasion, Umar Tramboo, MD, Pinnacle Resorts Pvt. Ltd, promoter of The Khyber Himalayan Resort & Spa, Gulmarg and Mr Yaseen Tuman of Mascot Travels thanked all the delegates for visiting Kashmir and also thanked Mr. Parminder Pal Singh, Sales Manager, Air India, Dubai, Sharjah & N.E for organizing the tour and bringing top tour operators to showcase Kashmir.
The FAM comprised of some of the leading tour operators of UAE such as, ITL Travel, Jamal Travel Agency (RAK), ATS Travel LLC, Al Hind Travel & Tours, Deira Travel & Tourist Agency, Buhaira Travel, Kanoo Travels, Air Link International, Orient Travel & Tourism Agency, Al Futtaim Travels, Uranus Travel, Arabian Travel Agency (GSA- Air India)