SRINAGAR: In what could lead to major boost to tourism sector in picturesque Kashmir, the three-day major national tourism convention began in Srinagar on Tuesday and Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) TAAI President Sunil Kumar exuded confidence that the visibility of Kashmir as a tourism destination would increase manifold after the conclusion of the convention, which is being held in Jammu and Kashmir after 30 years.
The 64th TAAI annual convention began at Sheri Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC), here today. About 600 delegations from across the country attended the convention.
“Jammu and Kashmir needed TAAI more than they need us. It is great to have TAAI delegates here. They organize things very efficiently. I hope we do well with them this year,” Tourism Minister Tassaduq Mufti told reporters after inaugurating the 64th annual convention of TAAI.
He said in many it is a historic conference and “we could not have hoped for better start to the year. I do look forward to long and enduring partnership with TAAI and hope we have a good year and years to follow.”
Describing Kashmir as safe destination for tourists, Mufti said there was no need to worry about this.
“The TAAI convention will help undo negative perception being created by some elements about Kashmir. The events like these will help J&K create a positive perception and attract more tourists,” he said.
It was after 30 years that the TAAI annual convention was held in the State. The last TAAI convention in the State was held in 1988.
Speaking on the occasion TAAI President Sunil Kumar exuded confidence that Kashmir tourism would benefit after the conclusion of the three-day convention.
“We are very confident that once this convention concludes successfully, the visibility of Kashmir as a tourism destination will multiply many times and this would result in more tourists coming to Kashmir. That is our goal, that is our desire and that is our prayer,” he said.
Kumar said the knowledge session in the morning during the convention would consistently talk in terms of need for the world particularly India to look at tourism as an opportunity.
“We will be working on knowledge session on subjects of tourism. We have speakers who would focus on initiatives that the industry stakeholders must take,” he said.
The tourism stakeholders in Kashmir are hopeful that the TAAI convention would help increase footfall of tourists in Valley.
“This will help revive tourism in the Valley,” they said.
The tourism sector in Kashmir has been badly hit after over five-month long unrest in 2016 following the killing of Hizb commander Burhan Wani on July 8 that year.