At the 64th Travel Agents Association of India Convention in Srinagar, Mehbooba Mufti, Chief Minister, J&K along with Tassaduq Hussain Mufti, Minister for Tourism, J&K, instils her faith in travel agents to help revive tourism in the Valley.
Mehbooba Mufti welcomed the TAAI delegates to the state and thanked them for choosing J&K as the venue for their convention. Quoting her father, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Mufti said, “My father used to say that if we are full of good deeds we will get paradise, but he would also be confused if that paradise is beautiful or our Kashmir. We have beautiful lakes and water bodies, mountains, forests, golf courses, culture, manners and different languages. There is no other place in the world which has so much diversity as J&K. Not even our entire country has so much diversity on offer as J&K, and that’s why even God has placed us right on top in the map of our country.”
However, commenting on the scenario of the state, she said, “Now, the crown of India has lost its lustre. We are going through a difficult phase, but we have invited the TAAI delegation for our hand holding. The TAAI convention has come as a new lease of life for us and is a good omen for the state. My father would say that every step of a tourist into the tate is an investment in peace. The perception created in the country about Kashmir shows that the entire state is burning, despite having a few untoward incidents in some remote areas sometimes. Tourism in the state has been impacted because of this perception. However, this is not the case. In fact, J&K is the safest place for women in the country. I am overwhelmed with the presence of TAAI delegates here. I hope that tourism stakeholders create packages that allow seamless travel within the state for tourists of all ages. TAAI Convention has come to J&K after many years, and we hope it revisits the state again soon.”
“With the TAAI delegation here, I look forward to a long and enduring partnership with association” – Tassaduq Hussain Mufti, Minister for Tourism, J&K
The convention kicked off with a Golf Tournament, with a tee-off by Tassaduq Hussain Mufti at the Royal Springs Golf Course in Srinagar. Having the TAAI Convention in Srinagar is the first step towards reviving tourism in the state, Mufti said. He added, “We couldn’t have hoped for a better start to the year. With the delegation here, some very good ideas have already started flowing, and I look forward to an enduring partnership with TAAI for many more years to follow.”
Going forward, he thinks that they need to take initiatives with a certain goal and creative objective in mind. “First thing that we need to do at the department of tourism is to define a strong policy. In one way we see ourselves conservationists, and we are trying to develop a policy keeping that in mind. We have to protect our air, water, land and forest as a primary objective,” he revealed.
On changing the perception of people of J&K, he said that they are trying to create new stories for J&K. “We have to create alternate stories for which the civil society and press is responsible. The idea is to create positive stories amongst ourselves and really talk about it as much as we can,” he said.