Foreign Tourists bypass hot Indian plains to cold Kashmir

Vietnamese tour operators visit Valley on FAM tour

With scorching heat in the Indian plains becoming unbearable for tourists, the foreign travel agents are diverting travelers to Kashmir to enjoy natural beauty in the moderate to cold temperature here.
After recent FAM visit of travel agents from Thailand, Vietnamese tour operators are now in Kashmir to promote Kashmir’s unmatched beauty and landscape.
Currently a group of top tour operators from Vietnam are in Valley to get familiar with Kashmir situation, beauty, language, art, craft, people, food and cuisines to promote it among the foreigners as an option to other Indian states which is sweltering with the heat ways in this time of summer.
One of the Asia’s leading tour operators Train Thi Minh Thao who is the Director of travel company Vietravel said she was amazed to know Kashmir has such a fine weather at this time of summer.
“Travellers from Vietnam visit many Indian states but due to increasing temperatures it is difficult to organize tours. We wanted to have an alternative and we found it in Kashmir’s warm weather. We still have mild and soothing temperature here which is really nice to experience,” said Thao.
She has been visiting India for many years but was afraid to visit Kashmir due to national media’s negative portrayal of the ground situation here.
However, after her visit to Kashmir, she feels convinced to promote the Valley’s natural landscape among Asian travelers.
“We were afraid to visit Kashmir. But now I am here. I feel overwhelmed with the way people are providing us love and warmth. Situation is totally opposite to what is projected in media. We visited many tourist places and we didn’t find anything like that here,” she said.
The group leader of the Vietnamese travel agents Sumit Mathore of Delhi based travel agency Top Travels said he brings lot of travelers from Vietnam to India.
“The travelers visit mostly Delhi, Jaipur, Mumbai and other states. They know India as a hot destination during summers but we wanted to show them some part of it is also cold and more beautiful. We brought them here so that they would enjoy the natural beauty and also enjoy cool weather,” said Sumit.
The travel agents stayed in Kashmir for two nights during which they visited Gulmarg and Pahalgam while they will stay for third night at Kargil before heading for Leh for two more nights. They will board flight to Delhi from Leh.
Director Tourism Kashmir Mahmood A Shah who welcomed the travel agents here in Srinagar said foreign travelers are visiting Valley in good numbers.
“We have every kind of tourism product here. We can attract travelers from any part of the country and of any taste. We just need proper promotion of tourism products and the FAM tours of these travel agents is a move in that direction,” said Shah.
He said the Vietnamese travel agents were surprised to see Buddhist sites besides other religious places here in Kashmir.
“Kashmir is already known for its beautiful landscape but religion and spirituality are also other by products they get to see here,” said Shah.
The FAM tour is being organized by Kashmir Vision Tour & Travels & Wangnoo Sheraton Group of Houseboats which also hosted a FAM trip for 26 tour operators from Thailand last month. They were staying in Wangnoo Sheraton Group of Houseboats.
The tour operators had visited Pahalgam, Gulmarg, Sonamarg and newly developed Doodhpathri. Habib Wangnoo of Kashmir Vision Tour and Travels said foreign tour operators want to visit Kashmir and see the beauty so that they can promote the Valley among foreigners.
“FAM tour for Thai tour operators has helped us as they have got us good booking from Thailand,” said Wangnoo.
The tour operators were also hosted by hotel Khyber, Taj by Vivanta and The Lalit.

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