TAAI dwells on high Airfares, Tourist Security

Delegates address impediments to tourism sector

Even as the ongoing Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) convention has brought fresh ideas and insights to the local stakeholders, the delegates also took up contentious issues facing the Valley’s tourism sector.
Besides its routine business, the convention, which is being held here after a gap of three decades, also talked of measures to address the stumbling blocks to the growth of local tourism, especially security concerns of tourists and soaring airfares in the peak season.
Universal Federation of Travel Agents Association (UFTAA) vice president Yossi Fatael said terrorism was a global problem and there was political instability in several regions of the world. However, security concerns should not deter stakeholders from promoting Kashmir tourism.
“If there are safety concerns, political instability…say it loudly…but tell them (tourists) we will take care of it. In Kashmir, the number of tourists that got injured is almost zero… women travelers are the safest here (as per reports)…. terrorism is a global problem….it happens in London, New York, Paris…but you can tell tourists that we (in Kashmir) know how to handle it and ensure your safety,” said Fatael.
Pertinently, in the past 10 years, the TAAI convention was held only once in India. As per TAAI, such conventions were held previously in London, UK; Dubai, UAE; Phuket, Thailand; Istanbul, Turkey; Bali, Indonesia; and Abu Dhabi, UAE.
As exorbitant airfares in the peak season have bothered local stakeholders for long, Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) CEO Kapil Kaul said the authorities had to make the airport accessible and increase operational hours.
“Make airport accessible. Increase operating hours (for more flights)….this is challenge for Srinagar as well as other states,” he said while responding to a query on soaring airfares.

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