To tap the South Indian market, the Department of Tourism Kashmir organized a Fam tour for the travel agents from Chennai and Bangalore who visited Pahalgam, Gulmarg, Yusmarg and Srinagar city.
The travel agents were all in praise for the hospitality they experienced during their travel here. They were also mesmerized by the beautiful landscape, unique culture, distinct art and craft of the Kashmir Valley.
The travel agents also visited budget, high-end properties and the Valley’s main USP, houseboats.
Ravi, who runs one of the leading tour companies – Arjun Tour and Travels – in Bangalore, said he would send more groups to Kashmir after realizing the tourist-friendly attitude of the locals.
“I have been sending group to Kashmir for over a decade but never visited here. Due to the FAM tour, I got an opportunity to visit this place. Trust me, from the day I landed here, it has been a wonderful experience. I had never imagined Kashmir is so beautiful and people are welcoming tourists with open hearts,” said Ravi who arrived in Srinagar on December 8, 2017.
Ravi, who also heads Karnataka Tourism Forum, said Kashmir can be an excellent choice for corporate tourism.
Another travel agent Shriharan Balan, Director of Madura Travel Services (P) Ltd in Chennai, minced no bones to shower praise on Kashmir’s hospitality, conferencing facilities and beautiful landscape.
Balan has also been selling Kashmir packages to his clients for 30 years. He, however, had grown apprehensive of late about sending them to Kashmir due to negative media publicity.
Arvind of Crismson Holidays in Bangalore sends almost 5 to 6 groups to Kashmir and Ladakh every month. He had to convince his clients about their safety in Kashmir.
“Now, I will show them my own travel pictures and videos which will convince them further. I think media is portraying Kashmir badly. We didn’t find any difficulty here,” he said.
Travel agents appreciated the Department of Tourism for the FAM trip which, they said, has helped them get the clear picture of this place.
Director Tourism Kashmir Mahmood A Shah also interacted with the tour operators and assured them that the department would visit Bangalore and Chennai for more confidence building measures. The department is planning aggressive marketing campaigns including road shows and seminars in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka this month. Deputy Directors Peerzada Zahoor and Riyaz Beigh also interacted with travel agents and informed them about the products J&K has to offer.