Trade vows to promote Kashmir

Post the TAAI Convention in Srinagar, the delegates including travel agents, hoteliers and service providers, have promised to promote Kashmir aggressively in their respective regions.

TT Bureau

Balbir Mayal, MD, New Airways Travels

The convention is a platform where industry issues can be addressed. The association can make a note of the most concerning issues of the travel and hospitality industry and put them across the relevant authorities or departments to offer a solution. A resolution must be passed after the convention and a time-bound agenda must be devised to ensure implementation. I suggest that the association and the government continue a good communication pre- and post the convention to maintain the momentum.

Aejaz Shaikh, General Manager—Leisure, The Leela Palaces Hotels Resorts

All the sessions were informative and we could meet a lot of agents, both from Kashmir and pan India, as well as from important feeder markets. I have been talking to all the important operators on all the issues, and I think the biggest drawback that Kashmir as a destination is facing is connectivity. It has improved fairly with Air India, IndiGo and SpiceJet starting their operations. Also, the cost from travelling from Mumbai or other places in the south is much higher. I think the price factor would definitely make a lot of difference.

Henna Adl Karim, Vacation Specialist, Creative Tours & Travels

To bring the TAAI Convention to Jammu & Kashmir is a commendable initiative taken by TAAI. At the same time, J&K Tourism has done a great job in showcasing its offerings to top travel agents in India. They also cleared all doubts related to the safety of the destination. We share our experiences with our customers and I feel this will build more confidence in travellers to visit the state. The business sessions were very informative, but we hope to see an increased participation from the younger generation of the industry in future conventions.

Abdul Hadi Sheikh, CEO and Co-founder,

The last TAAI Convention at Abu Dhabi was the first time we attended a TAAI convention. The association has done a beautiful job of taking us to Kashmir. I am truly impressed with the hospitality and glad to be partners with TAAI. We are co-sponsors of this event as well and we wish to prosper along with them. Attending this convention gives you a lot of credibility in terms of product offering and branding. We as a product, are a three-year-old start-up. Getting associated with TAAI helps us in getting more business.

Sham Nijhawan, Chairman, Nijhawan Group

Kashmir is a lovely place and sometimes you feel disappointed about the lack of promotion of its tourism potential. However, I feel the attendance here should have been better. I have attended a few sessions, but all of them are telling great growth stories about travel. However, someone has to tell about how we can transform the way we do business to be in line with the growth we are going to have, in terms of distribution. It’s a changing world and the convention should have more discussions on what is changing and offer solutions to cope with that change.

Shahnawaz Shah, Manager Marketing, SKICC

The TAAI convention gave us great pleasure to witness the stalwarts of travel industry visit SKICC and experience its convention facilities. The delegates loved the venue and the destination. Now, all our hopes are tied up with TAAI. They have seen the sights and beauty of Kashmir, and have travelled everywhere in and around Srinagar, including Gulmarg and Pahalgaum. I am sure this will convey a positive and powerful image about the state, and will help in neutralising the negative perception.

Jay Bhatia, Director, Tulsidas Khimji Holidays

The hospitality was great and it was amazing to be here with our industry colleagues.  In terms of sessions, it was great sharing knowledge with stalwarts. However, they need to touch upon everything about ticketing and tourism products. Two days is not enough time for industry matters, which go on year after year. We had good business sessions and the venue was fantastic. Lalit was beautiful and so were the dinners at SKICC. Everybody enjoyed the music and food while connecting with industry colleagues from all over the country.

Vijay Mohan Raj, Managing Director, Uniglobe Sameera Travels

I was happy to be in Srinagar, firstly because it was held in India and that too in Kashmir. It’s a turnaround in Kashmir because the perception of many people has been changed after coming here. People are extremely warm, and from whatever we have heard from people I have learnt that it is very safe. I have been to Gulmarg and I must say that it was amazing, much better than what I have see in Switzerland. It is sad that we have not done anything for Kashmir for so many years. But I am sure we will do something now.

Dev Karvat, CEO- Emerging Markets, Cover-More

This is our tenth year of association with TAAI and we work very closely with them because that’s the community that I think will breed and stay here. We have been part of every TAAI event that has happened in the last 10 years. Kashmir is an amazing destination, and I believe that TAAI took a great initiative to come here for their convention as it would allow members to see the destination and promote it in the right manner.

Dipak Haksar, Chief Executive, ITC Hotels

The TAAI convention this year was very good and the response has been stupendous. There has been a record participation in the convention. I think this was something unique that the travel fraternity has come to Kashmir and discuss tourism. I think this would certainly be a game changer because this would bring a sharper focus to tourism and promote Jammu & Kashmir as a state. It would give huge impetus to tourism in the state and I hope everyone will promote the state.

Chitra Bhatia, Managing Director, Aashman Air Travels 

Everything was just perfect at the TAAI convention – the venue, session and the destination. It’s an eye opener for me as I have come here after 10 years. Everything is looking up and the city looked cheerful than what it was on my last visit to the state. TAAI has done a good job and I think a lot of people will go back and talk about safety here, which will make more people come here. The sessions were remarkable and lots of new things have come up, which we will make use of when we go back.

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