Srinagar: After successful completion of Kashmir Autumn FAM Tour, the local travel trade bodies are upbeat about good tourist flow to Kashmir, Kashmir News Service (KNS) reported.
Governor Satya Pal Malik inaugurated the 3-day Kashmir Autumn FAM (familiarisation) Tour-2018 at the SKICC on October 25, 2018 in which over 70 delegates representing travel, media, and film industry participated.
Jammu and Kashmir Hoteliers Club Chairman Mushtaq Chaya said FAM tour has sent a positive message across the country that Kashmir is safe.
“We are thankful to the department of tourism Kashmir for taking pains in organizing such FAM tours. It was the biggest FAM tour in recent years in which over 70 delegates from other states visited Kashmir. The delegates had a great time in Kashmir and they will act as our ambassadors,” said Chaya.
He said Kashmir tourism needs such promotional activities.
“We have everything to offer but only media plays spoilsport. During the FAM tour, many leading travel agents and media houses who were invited here saw by themselves that tourists are visiting the tourist places freely,” said Chaya.
He hailed Director tourism Kashmir for his untiring efforts in organizing Kashmir FAM tour successfully.
Travel Agents Society of Kashmir (TASK), the apex body of the travel trade in Kashmir, said Familiarization (FAM) tours of the leading travel agents and media persons from the country would prove fruitful for the State tourism.
Secretary General TASK Ather Yameen said FAM tour to Kashmir helps remove negative perception among travellers about Kashmir.
“During the Kashmir Autumn FAM tour, the travel agents and media persons from outside the State visited Srinagar, Pahalgam and Gulmarg and enjoyed the tour fully. This has helped remove negative perception. The travel agents are expecting good bookings for winter months,” said Yameen.
TASK has urged the department of tourism to organize more FAM tours for travel agents which, it said, would help improve tourist flow to Kashmir during lean season of Autumn.
“Travel agents from other States are key promoters of the tourism who can bring tourists to State. We have to convince them that tourists are safe in Kashmir and they are enjoying their holidays safely here. During the FAM tours, the department invites leading agents from other states to Kashmir who do networking with the local travel agents. They also see by themselves how tourists are freely enjoying their holidays here. Kashmir Autumn FAM tour was conducted successfully which helped us get bookings for winter months,” said TASK Secretary General.
Vice Chairman of Tourist Trade Interest Guild (TTIG) Bashir Karnai said the department has wonderfully conducted the FAM tour and everyone is upbeat about its positive outcome.
He said the department has also saved most of the money by getting rooms from the local hoteliers at very reasonable rates.
“We provided hotel rooms to the tourism department at very reasonable rates as we also wanted to contribute to the FAM tour. The department has made every effort to make holidays of the guests very memorable. The guests left satisfied and have assured of sending groups in coming months,” said Karnai.
Karnai said the tourist flow to Kashmir is very low but such FAM tours provide a hope for the local hospitality sector.
“We are thankful to the department of tourism for such a great show. Everything was organized successfully. The FAM tour will benefit local travel sector in a big way,” he said.
Vandana Kunder of Sterling Travel Service Pvt Limited, one of delegates of the FAM Tour, said she has already made booking for a group who will be learning skiing at Gulmarg in February.
“I was amazed to see how beautiful Kashmir is and how safely and freely the tourists are enjoying here. I have travelled to many countries but found Kashmir more beautiful and service providers are very friendly. I am convinced that my group will have beautiful experiences.
(with inputs from KNS)