The TAAI Convention proved to be successful with overbookings and rave reviews. Travel agents and members of the organising committee share their expectations and outcomes of the event.
Mahmood Ahmed Shah, Director Tourism, Kashmir
With an attempt to dilute negativity about the destination, TAAI’s visit to J&K is definitely a positive news. The convention has proved that whatever is talked about the state on news channels is not true in terms of the magnitude and real proportion. I am thankful to Sunil Kumar and the entire TAAI team as they announced 2018 as Visit Kashmir year. We need to open the engagement channels with TAAI and its chapters across the country. We also need to engage with other travel associations, few of which have already approached us for their conventions.
Zahoor Qari, Chairman, J&K Chapter—TAAI
We went to great lengths to bring leading tour operators from all over India. We have representation from Southeast Asian countries, Israel as well as Abu Dhabi. The movement of tourism will highly increase as per our imagination. We are predicting that this season will be good for Kashmir, according to the feedbacks from tour operators who have visited properties here. For the first time, we witnessed 650 tour operators from across India who came as delegates to visit our Valley. We are thankful to TAAI for having selected J&K as their convention venue.
Asif I Burza, Managing Director, Ahad Hotels and Resorts
The occurrence of a big gathering like the TAAI convention in the state will give a great boost to tourism in the state. In today’s world, travel is no longer only about visiting destinations, it is an experience. Through the medium of this convention, we have been able to showcase the Kashmiri culture, hospitality and tradition in the best possible manner and I hope that delegates go back with good memories. I urge travellers to experience the destination personally and not go by what is projected by the media.
Iqbal Bakshi, Managing Partner, Sheraz Travel
The sessions at TAAI Convention were interesting and informative. I feel that one session could have been dedicated to Kashmir and how TAAI would help bring about a change in the state. We wanted a question-answer session on what steps could have been taken. The last TAAI convention featured river cruises with a lot of foreign travellers in attendance. A mock marriage was also held with authentic Kashmiri wazwan. People visited this time with a mindset, which I hope changes in future.
Shamim Ahmed Shah, Director, Shah Travels
We have had an impact of negative perception in the entire nation about Kashmir. However, as far as rating goes, the state is 100 per cent safe and we have zero per cent crime against women. More than 600 TAAI delegates from across our country attended the event with a few of them were from different parts of world. The usual perception about any destination is if a TAAI convention is being held, it is going to be safe. The association would not visit any unsafe destination. I think tourism is the best source of integration.
Ashfaq Siddiqui Dug, President, Travel Agents Association of Kashmir
This convention would be a mind changer. It was like a homecoming for TAAI, as it held its convention 31 years back at the same venue. We are recreating that magic again with agents from around the country as well as from outside. The event was replete with good speakers, panel discussions, technologies and innovations, which would give impetus to tourism and help generate footfalls to the state. The delegates have been upbeat about the destination, and were impressed by the beauty and hospitality of Kashmir.