As Kashmir tourism sector is on a revival path, the government and private stakeholders on Thursday embarked on a fresh countrywide promotional campaign. The tourism department will focus on wooing south Indian tourists in the first phase.
“We will be making a presentation and have also set up a stall at the three-day 34th Indian Association of Tour Operators’ (IATO) Convention that started at Vishakapatnam on Thursday. We have started a fresh promotional campaign and we will go to all major cities across the country. However, we will concentrate on south India in the first phase and also hold promotional events at places like Chennai and Bengaluru,” Director Tourism, Kashmir, Tasaduq Jeelani told Kashmir Post over phone from Vishakhapatnam.
The campaign is the department’s first of its kind after Jeelani recently took over as Director, Tourism.
Even as tourist arrivals had taken a hit after the 2016 unrest, Valley nevertheless started witnessing a slight increase in flow from south Indian states. However, killing of a tourist from Kerala during a stone-throwing incident in May last year had played spoilsport.
Despite the killing, stakeholders say they continue to receive a good response from South. “We continue to get good response from south India. We will also promote lesser-visited tourist destinations like Doodhpathri, Bungus valley, Gurez, and Yusmarg. We are hopeful of getting a good number of tourists in the coming months… our only worry is the law and order situation if municipal and panchayat elections are held,” said IATO, J&K chapter, chairman Abdul Khaliq Wangnoo.
Meanwhile, Jeelani said preparations were in a full swing for the ‘Mega Kashmir Festival’ that would be held from September 29 to October 1 during Durga Puja holidays.
“There is still a false perception outside that Kashmir is not safe to visit. The festival will go a long way in diluting the negative perception. We will invite celebrities, tour operators, bloggers, and journalists to the festival so that they can see for themselves that Kashmir is safe for travel,” he said.
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